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Copyright, 1899, by Harper & Brothers. 

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The Story of the Case I 

How Dreyfus came to Rennes II 

On the Eve Ill 

Dreyfus IV 

Mercier V 

A Shot in the Street VI 

Roget VII 


The Alsatians IX 

The Court and the Case  . X 

Labori .* . XI 

His Comrades upon Dreyfus XII 

Esterhazy XIII 

A Drawn Battle and a Rout XIV 

The Experts XV 

The Confession XVI 

The Defence XVII 

Demange XVIII 

"Guilty !" XIX 

France after Dkevfus XX 


3 8 3 2 9 3 



In 1894 there was attached to the General Staff of 
the French Army a captain of artillery named Alfred 
Dreyfus. He belonged to a Jewish family of Miihl- 
hausen, in Alsace — a family which has distinguished 
itself since the annexation by its attachment to France. 
Two of his three brothers, like himself, opted in 1872 
for French nationality; the eldest, who remained at 
Miihlhausen to manage the family factories, after 
sending his six sons successively to France, finally 
retired from business in 1897, and became naturalized 
as a also. Alfred Dreyfus was, in 1894, 
thirty-five years old. He had the reputation of a very 
industrious and intelligent officer; but his demeanour 
oscillated betw^een complaisance and ostentation, and he 
was not popular among his comrades. 

In September of that year a secret agent brought 
a document to Major Henry, sub-chief of the Intelli- 
gence Department of the War Office; it was torn into 
little pieces, and was said to have been taken from 
the overcoat pocket of Colonel Schwarzkoppen, the 
German Military Attache in Paris. When pieced to- 
gether it proved to be a bordereau, or covering letter, 
and ran as follows: — 


Though I have no news indicating that you wish to see me, 
I send you, monsieur, some interesting information: — 

(i) A note on the hydraulic brake of the 120,* and the 
way in which this piece has behaved. 

(2) A note on the covering troopsf (some modifications 

will be introduced by the new plan). 

(3) A note on a modification in artillery formations. 

(4) A note on Madagascar. 

(5) The projected firing-manual for field artillery (March 

14, 1894). 

This last document is very difficult to get, and I can only 
have it at my disposal for a few days. The Ministry of War 
has sent a limited number of copies to the various corps, and 
these corps are responsible for them, each officer in possession 
of one must give it up after the manoeuvres. If, therefore, 
you wish to take from it what interests you, and hold it at my 
disposal afterwards, I will take it, unless you would like me to 
have a copy made of it in extenso and send the copy to you. 

I am just starting for the manoeuvres. 

It appeared from the last words that the writer of 
this letter was a French officer; it was inferred that 
he was also a gunner, and on the General Staf¥. 
Specimens were taken of the various officers' handwrit- 
ing, and it was decided that Dreyfus was the man. M. 
Bertillon, the well-known head of the Criminal Identifi- 
cation Bureau in Paris, concurred. The inquiry into 
the case was committed to Major Du Paty de Clam. 
On October 15th, having sent for Dreyfus, he ordered 
him to write from dictation a letter containing phrases 
used in the bordereau. After writing a few lines, 

* i. e., The 120-millimetre gun. There are two pieces of this 
calibre in the French Army— the long and the short. 

t A sort of frontier force kept always equipped with a view 
to covering and protecting the detraining and formation of 
armies during the early hours of a war. 


says Du Paty, he turned pale and his hand trembled. 
Immediately he was arrested and taken to the Cherche- 
Midi prison. Major Forzinetti, commandant of the 
Paris military prisons, was waiting there, and Dreyfus 
was immured au secret — that is, without the possi- 
bility of communicating with anyone but the chief 
warder. He remained au secret until December 5th. 
Major Du Paty de Clam came almost every day, un- 
der a special authorization from the ^linister of War, 
General Mercier, to induce the prisoner to confess. 
One of his inspirations was to creep noiselessly into 
the cell and then suddenly throw a strong light on 
the prisoner's face. All this time, Dreyfus, according 
to Major Forzinetti, was terribly agitated; from the 
corridor he could be heard to cry and groan; he flung 
himself upon the furniture and against the walls; he 
took nothing but broth and sweetened wine; he never 
undressed. Yet all the time he protested his inno- 
cence. On November ist the Libre Parole, informed 
apparently by Major Henry, announced Dreyfus's 
arrest, and attacked General Mercier savagely for an 
alleged wish to screen him. On November 28th, ten 
days before his trial, ^lercier made a communication 
to a newspaper stating that "the guilt of this officer 
is absolutelv certain." 

He was brought before a court-martial on De- 
cember 19th. The trial was held behind closed doors; 
he was found guilty and sentenced to public degrada- 
tion from his rank and to solitary confinement for life. 
The first part of the sentence was carried out on Jan- 
uary 5th, 1895. In the presence of a large body of 
troops and correspondents of the Press, the galloons 
were torn from his kepi, the trefoils from his sleeves, 



the buttons from his tunic, the numbers from his 
collar, and the stripes from his trousers; his sword 
was broken, and the scabbard thrown to the ground. 
In this state he passed before the men under his com- 
mand. He went through the ordeal with dignity and 
firmness, though to French onlookers his bearing 
seemed mechanical. In a loud voice he again and 
again proclaimed his innocence; but he used words 
to Captain Lebrun-Renault, who was on guard over 
him, which that officer interpreted as a confession. 
He was taken back to prison; a month later the 
Chamber of Deputies made a special law authorizing 
his deportation to the He du Diable, of¥ the coast of 
French Guiana. Thither, still protesting his inno- 
cence, even in his sleep, he was deported. 

That, until a few months ago, was all Dreyfus knew 
of the Dreyfus case. 

Nothing happened for a year. But in the month 
of May, 1896, there appeared in the Intelligence De- 
partment, where Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart had suc- 
ceeded Colonel Sandherr as head, a petit bleu or ex- 
press letter-card. It came, according to Colonel Pic- 
quart, from the German Embassy, as the bordereau 
did; it was torn, just like the bordereau, into little 
pieces ; it was pieced together again, like it, and was 
found to bear the name and address of Major Ester- 
hazy. The card had not been through the post, was 
not apparently in the handwriting of Colonel Schwarz- 
koppen, and its purport, while suspicious, was not in 
itself demonstrative of treachery. Colonel Picquart 
began to make inquiries about Major Esterhazy, 
He turned out to have led something of a life of 
a soldier of fortune — had seen fighting with the 


Austrian Army and the Papal forces as well as 
the French. Brought up in Vienna he knew German 
perfectly, Italian well ; he was of an exceedingly quick 
and lively intelligence, and curious of all military 
information. His life was irregular and dissipated. 
A secret agent had warned Picquart that documents on 
artillery were being betrayed by an officer answering 
more or less to Esterhazy^s description, and these 
documents answered more or less to matters on which 
Esterhazy had asked brother-officers for information. 
Picquart next took specimens of Esterhazy's hand- 
writing, and thought he detected in them a striking 
resemblance to that of the bordereau. He showed 
them to Bertillon and Du Paty de Clam, who were in 
a position to know the bordereau better than anybody, 
and both bore him out. Finally, Picquart looked into 
the secret dossier of the Dreyfus case, which was pre- 
served in the Intelligence Department. He concluded 
that the most significant of the rather vague docu- 
ments it contained would apply just as well to Ester- 
hazy as to Dreyfus. As long as it had been merely 
a question of evidence against Esterhazy, Picquart's 
superiors on the General Staff, Generals de Boisdeffre 
and Gonse, had encouraged him in his investigations. 
But now, as soon as they detected his intention of 
substituting Esterhazy for Dreyfus as the traitor of 
1894, they began to check him. 

Meanwhile the friends of Dreyfus were beginning 
to assert his innocence and agitate for a new trial. On 
September 14th a Paris newspaper stated that at the 
court-martial a secret document had been shown to 
the judges and not to the prisoner or the defence^ — 
an illegality which would be sufficient to upset the 



verdict. Madame Dreyfus immediately petitioned for 
a revision of the case. Next, on the loth November, 
another paper pubUshed a facsimile of the bordereau, 
and the growing party of Dreyfusards set about to 
prove graphologically that it was not from his hand. 
On the 1 8th November, however, any hopes they may 
have had of official countenance were destroyed. Gen- 
eral Billot, who had succeeded Mercier as War Min- 
ister, pronounced in the Chamber of Deputies that 
Dreyfus had been justly and legally condemned. 

From that pronouncement it w^as impossible to go 
back. The War Office was pledged henceforth to the 
guilt of Dreyfus, and the open fight for the revision 
of his trial began. Picquart, who had declared him- 
self against his superiors on the question, was re- 
moved from the Intelligence Department — where he 
was succeeded by Henry, now Lieutenant Colonel — 
and sent on a mission to the frontier of Tripoli — on 
the mission, he suggests, of Uriah the Hittite. He 
there received an abusive letter from Henry, making 
three charges against him : of opening Esterhazy's let- 
ters in the post, of attempting to suborn Major Lauth 
and Captain Junck of the Intelligence Department to 
allege that the petit bleu was in Schwarzkoppen's 
hand, and of opening and improperly using the secret 
dossier. Picquart, feeling that his junior in rank 
would hardly write thus if unsupported by higher 
powers, seized an opportunity to return to Paris in 
June, 1897, and laid his case before a lawyer, Maitre 
Leblois. In September Leblois communicated what 
Picquart had told him to M. Scheurer Kestner, Vice- 
President of the Senate, who vainly tried to induce 
General Billot to open a fresh inquiry into the case of 



Dreyfus. In the end of October M. de Castro, Ester- 
hazy's stockbroker, bought a facsimile of the bor- 
dereau and recognized it as Esterhazy's handwriting. 
He communicated with Scheurer Kestner, who was 
in communication with Dreyfus's brother. On No- 
vember 15th M. Mathieu Dreyfus pubHshed an open 
letter, flatly accusing Esterhazy of being the author 
of the bordereau and of the treasonable correspon- 
dence it disclosed. 

This was the first time Esterhazy's name had been 
published, and General de Pellieux was instructed to 
inquire into the charges made against him. From that 
moment the history of the Dreyfus case is the history 
of France. The battle for and against Dreyfus went 
on with ever-increasing savagery. 

It engrossed the whole of politics and spread chaos 
into every province of private life. The French press, 
never distinguished for moderation in controversy, be- 
came violent and malignant beyond all parallel. No 
abuse was too foul or too absurd to be showered on 
somebody who thought differently about Dreyfus. The 
Jews, of course, were fair game. In a score of towns 
there were anti-Semitic riots ; a boy named Max Regis 
made himself Mayor of Algiers solely on the strength 
of inciting to loot Jewish shi ps. The army, on the 
bther hand, was daily held up to ridicule and hatred. 
The lines of party vanished, and men who had been 
friends for half a generation now cut one another. 
I knew myself two young men of letters in Paris ; one 
of them, as is usual in that hive of movements, consti- 
tuted the school of the other. They were sincerely 
attached ; only, unluckily, the disciple was a clerk of 
the War Office, and the master was a Jew. They 



began by hot argument, and then cooled to sulkiness. 
One day the younger man went to the elder for a final 
attempt at reconciliation — and saw a photograph of 
Dreyfus on the mantelpiece. It was all over ; now they 
do not speak. It was not that the one wished to tor- 
ment Dreyfus, or that the other was particularly 
anxious for his release. Dreyfus had become a symbol 
— a dogma. The bitterness his case aroused trans- 
cends political animosity, and can only be rivaled from 
the history of religion. 

The Esterhazy Court-Martial was led up to through 
a maze of intrigues which read half like a novel of 
Gaboriau's and half like a burlesque opera. Ester- 
hazy's story, which is the more spirited of the two, was 
that he became aware, through a letter signed Esper- 
ance, of Picquart^s machinations against him. He 
hastened forthwith to the Minister of War and de- 
manded an inquiry. Soon after that he received a tele- 
gram making an appointment for a midnight interview 
on the Pont Alexander III. He went, and found a 
veiled lady : she made him give his word of honour not 
to try to recognise her, and then acquainted him with 
Picquart's machinations against him. 

Afterwards followed similar interviews, in the course 
of one of which the mysterious veiled lady gave him 
a sealed letter with the words "This document proves 
your innocence." The idea was that this was a photo- 
graph of one of the secret documents shown to the 
Judges of the Dreyfus Court-Martial ; that Henry had 
one day in the Intelligence Department seen Picquart 
showing the secret dossier to Maitre Leblois and that 
this photograph had slipped out; that Picquart had 
stolen it and kept it over a year ; that his mistress, who 



was no other than the veiled lady, had heard him talk- 
ing in his sleep of it and of his plots against Esterhazy, 
and, pitying the innocent, had taken the photograph 
and given it back to Esterhazy as a hold on the War 
Office. Thither Esterhazy duly returned it in Novem- 
ber, 1897, and General Billot formally acknowledged 
its receipt. As for the bordereau, Esterhazy^s explana- 
tion of its correspondence with his handwriting was 
very simple. Dreyfus had procured specimens of his 
handwriting by writing under the name of a Captain 
Brault for information on a professional topic, and had 
then traced the bordereau over selections from Ester- 
hazy's answer. 

Picquart on his side had a tale of machinations to 
tell. In Tunis he had received a letter of remon- 
strance from Esterhazy, and on the same day two 
telegrams signed respectively Speranza and Blanche; 
both implied that his friends knew him to be the 
forger of the petit bleu addressed to Esterhazy. 
He asserted that there, together with a letter signed 
Speranza which had been addressed to him at the 
War Office after he left, opened and preserved, were 
forgeries based on intercepted genuine letters of his 
friends, intended to ruin him, and perpetrated by 
Esterhazy and Du Paty de Clam. 

Both stories were wild enough. Esterhazy's, how- 
ever, was believed by the Court-Martial, which, on 
January nth, 1898, acquitted him. Picquart's story, 
on the other hand, was believed by Judge Bertulus, 
before whom he brought an action for forgery against 
Esterhazy, Mdlle Pays, his mistress, and Du Paty de 
Clam. Nor is it now denied by the strongest anti- 
Dreyfusard — least of all by Esterhazy himself — that 


this whole story of the veiled lady and of Dreyfus's 
trick to get Esterhazy's writing was a fiction con- 
cocted by this same trio with the aid of Henry. But 
the day of Esterhazy's acquittal Picquart was arrested 
on the charge of communicating professional docu- 
ments to Leblois and conveyed to the prison of Mont 

Two days later Zola published his famous letter 
'7'accuse." Du Paty de Clam, Mercier, Billot, Bois- 
deffre and Gonse, De Pellieux, Major Ravary, the offi- 
cial prosecutor of Esterhazy, the experts in handwrit- 
ing who had pronounced for the War Office, the War 
Office itself, the Judges of the Court-Martial who had 
condemned Dreyfus and acquitted Esterhazy — all 
were violently accused of knavery or folly or both. 
He was prosecuted before a civil jury; but the War 
Minister confined the inquiry to the charge against 
the Esterhazy Court-Martial of having acquitted the 
accused to order. The case opened on February 7th, 
and at first seemed to be going in Zola's favor. His 
counsel — a hitherto obscure lawyer named Labori — 
fought the case with audacity and resource. But on 
the 17th General de Pellieux came forward to the bar 
of the court and read the following letter from the 
secret dossier of the Dreyfus case: — 

My Dear Friend: 

I have read that a deputy is going to make an interpellation 
on Dreyfus. If — (here is a portion of a phrase which I am 
unable to read) — I shall say that I never had no relations 
with the Jew. That is understood. If as you are asked, say 
just so, for nobody must not ever know what happened with 
him. Alexandrine.* 

* The English of this translation corresponds with the 
French of the original, which is grossly ungrammatical. 



That decided it. Zola was condemned, but he ap- 
pealed on technical grounds and the sentence was 
quashed by the Cour de Cassation, the highest appeal 
court of France. After some hesitation, a second 
prosecution was decided on, the ground of action this 
time being narrowed down to three lines of Zola's 
letter, which confined the issue still more closely to 
the Esterhazy Court-^.Iartial. This second trial was 
held at Versailles on July i8th and the succeeding 
days. Maitre Labori unsuccessfully put in several 
technical pleas, the most important being that, on 
the grounds of the connection between the three lines 
and the rest of the letter, the defence ought to be al- 
lowed to justify the letter in its entirety. When this 
plea was disallowed the defence threw up the case, 
and Zola condemned by default, fled the country. 

The excitement in every class was enormous, though 
the triumph of the anti-Dreyfusards seemed complete. 
But already, on July 7th, M. Cavaignac who had suc- 
ceeded Billot as Minister of War, had made an im- 
portant speech in the Chamber, which led up to the 
most violently dramatic act in the whole stor}' of the 
case. Cavaignac, as a private deputy, had blamed 
Billot for not demonstrating to the country the guilt 
of Dreyfus, and so setting the pernicious agitation for- 
ever to rest. In his speech of July 7th he read out as 
links in a chain of correspondence between Schwarz- 
koppen and Colonel Panizzardi, the Italian military 
attache in Paris, three letters, including the one given 
above, quoting Dreyfus by name. He also insisted 
on the Lebrun-Renault confession, which had only 
been made public since late in 1897. For the moment 
Cavaignac enjoyed a wild ovation. By 572 votes to 2 



the Chamber decided that this speech should be posted 
up on the walls of all the communes of France. Two 
days later Picquart wrote an open letter to the Premier 
offering to prove that two of the letters quoted by M. 
Cavaignac did not refer to Dreyfus, while the third 
was a forgery. Cavaignac countered by ordering a 
civil action against him and Leblois for divulging mili- 
tary secrets. Three days later still, Maitre Demange, 
who had been Dreyfus's advocate at the first Court- 
Martial, made public the fact that none of the docu- 
ments read had been communicated either to the 
prisoner or to himself. 

Six weeks later, on August 30th, came the stirring 
news that the document mentioning Dreyfus had 
been forged by Colonel Henry, that he had confessed, 
and had cut his throat in prison. It was officially 
stated that General Roget, an officer on the War 
Office Staff, had detected the fraud; afterwards Cap- 
tain, now Major, Cuignet claimed the discovery. He 
was working at night, he said, classifying the Dreyfus 
dossier for M. Cavaignac, when he noticed that the 
letter — which had been torn and gummed together — 
w^as in two parts. The cross ruling of the heading 
*'My dear friend" and the signature "Alexandrine" 
was blue-gray, that of the body of the letter violet-red. 
Turning to another genuine document from the re- 
puted author of the first, he found that the heading 
and signature were cross ruled violet-red, and the body 
of the letter blue-gray. The conclusion was obvious: 
the first letter naming Dreyfus had been written by 
Henry, who had cut off the heading and signature 
of the genuine letter and had replaced them by his 
own imitations. The document had never been ex- 



amined by lamplight before, and this, according to 
Cuignet, explains both Henry's blunder and his own 
discovery. Cavaignac charged Henry with the for- 
gery ; for a long time he denied it, but the evidence of 
the two colors in the paper was irrefutable. It is be- 
lieved he was assisted by an ex-policeman named Le- 
mercier-Picard, who had committed other forgeries, 
had been arrested, and was found strangled in prison. 
Henry was arrested and taken to the military prison of 
Mont Valerian. On the way he cried, "What I did, I 
am ready to do again. It was for the good of the coun- 
try and of the army.'' But he had a long interview 
with an unknown officer in his cell, and immediately 
after was found with his throat cut twice across and 
the razor beside him. Whether it was murder or 
suicide did not appear; but the best judges believe he 
resolved to die a lieutenant-colonel so as to ensure his 
widow a full pension. 

After this tremendous event the cause of the anti- 
Dreyfusards was for the moment hopeless. Cavaignac 
and General de Boisdeffre, Chief of the General Staff, 
resigned. Du Paty de Clam and Esterhazy were re- 
tired from the army. Finally, on September 24th, the 
Cour de Cassation was entrusted with the revision of 
the Dreyfus Court-Martial. 

General Zurlinden, the new Minister of War, re- 
signed at this decision. In October General Chanoine, 
his successor, who must have known w^hat he was do- 
ing when he took office, stood up to defend his col- 
leagues in a critical debate, suddenly turned and at- 
tacked them and resigned from the very tribune. Be- 
fore this, on September 21st, Picquart had again been 
imprisoned — this time ait secret, just as Dreyfus had 



been — on the charge of having scratched out the name 
of the real addressee of the now classical express letter- 
card and substituted Esterhazy's instead. This change 
had actually been made in the card — Esterhazy's name 
being first scratched out then re-written in a different 
ink. Picquart declared this one more perfidious 
machination to stop his mouth. His surrender was 
demanded just as the civil action against him was 
about to begin. The Court was vmable to resist the 
demand, but before he was handed over Picquart 
asked leave to speak. ''This evening, probably," he 
said, 'T shall go to the Cherche-Midi, and now will be 
the last time I can say a word in pubHc. If there is 
found in my cell the rope of Lemercier-Picard or the 
razor of Henry, then I shall have been assassinated. 
Men like me do not commit suicide." 

The Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cassation 
began the hearing of witnesses on November 8th, 
1898, and went on until February 2nd. By a desperate 
effort the anti-Dreyfusards pushed through a law 
transferring the case from the Criminal Chamber of 
the Court to the whole body of it. The united cham- 
bers heard more evidence between April 24th and 29th. 
Altogether over eighty witnesses were heard before 
the Court of Paris, many of them at vast length. Dele- 
gations, sub-delegations, and rogatory commissions 
scoured France for evidence. Letters, reports, ex- 
tracts from dossiers were put in by the ream. The 
Court took note of the depositions before the first 
Dreyfus Court-Martial, and those in Picquart's action 
against Esterhazy, Pays, and Du Paty. Dreyfus him- 
self was examined at the DeviPs Island. In short, 
the whole case was thrashed out as fine as the law of 
France could thrash it. 



The proceedings make up i,i68 pages. There is 
no need even to summarise them, since ever}''thing 
has been repeated — in some cases almost textually, in 
the case of absent witnesses altogether textually — be- 
fore the Court-Martial at Rennes. The important fact 
is that on May 27th the Court quashed the convic- 
tion of 1894, and ordered a new trial of the case be- 
fore the Court-Martial at Rennes. The Court could, 
had it chosen, have declared Dreyfus innocent, but 
it preferred to give him back to military justice. The 
grounds of the quashing of the verdict of 1894 — and 
they are important as the chief points for the con- 
sideration of the Rennes Court-Martial — were the fol- 
lowing : — 

(i) The Henry forgery. 

(2) Incorrect date ascribed to the bordereau. 

(3) Contradiction between the opinions of the experts in 
the Dreyfus case of '94 and the Esterhazy case of '98. 

(4) Identity of the thin paper of the bordereau with that 
used by Esterhazy. 

(5) Letter of Esterhazy stating that he had been to the 
manoeuvres at the date indicated. Dreyfus did not go to the 

(6) A recent police report showing that Dreyfus did not 
gamble ; he was accused of it in 1894 owing to a confusion 
with relations and others of the same name. 

(7) The dramatic scene between Judge Bertulus and Colo- 
nel Henry in the magistrate's room, when the judge told the 
colonel he knew of his guilty doings. 

(8) A telegram of 1894, whence it followed that Dreyfus 
had no dealings with foreign agents. 

(9) Another telegram proving Dreyfus had no dealings with 
foreign powers. 

(10) Documents showing that Dreyfus never confessed his 
alleged crime. 




Such was the wider scope of the inquiry. The exact 
question put by the Court of Appeal before the Court- 
Martial was this: Did Dreyfus deliver to a foreign 
power the documents enumerated in the bordereau. 

Now everything was ready except Dreyfus. 



*'It is Rennes?'' asked the Frenchman at the oppo- 
site corner of the carriage, unwinding himself from 
his blanket. 'Tt is Rennes, monsieur," answered the 
little guard. At the word I woke and cast off my 
moorings also, and staggered down on the platform. 

I looked around hastily for Dreyfus. I had been 
dreaming that we arrived simultaneously, and that I 
alone detected him. There was nothing to see but 
the typical French railway station, with its complete 
roof and low concrete platforms, its walls naked of 
advertisement, and general air of cold, formal civiliza- 
tion. Ludgate Hill is a picturesque barn compared 
with the ordinary railway station of France. The plat- 
forms were peopled by half a dozen red-bagged sol- 
diers, a blue- jacket or two on the way to Brest, an 
apple-cheeked peasant girl or two, and a most heavenly 
smell of hay. 

No matter, I was in the emotional centre of France. 
Here, if anywhere, there would be something to see 
and feel. I set forth into the town with a thrill. 

It was four o'clock, dawn had broken half an hour 
ago. It was quite light, with the sober, unillusioned 
light that precedes sunrise. I looked out for the keen 
little knots of journalists, gendarmes, anti-Semites, 
Dreyfusards, and secret agents, who, as I knew, 
keep Argus-eyes on Rennes railway station from mid- 
day to midnight and on to midday again. There was 
apparently not a single journalist, gendarme, anti- 
Semite, Dreyfusard, or secret agent in the place. 



Nothing at all except the smell of hay and a fluff of 
rosy clouds and one commissionaire methodically 
balancing my baggage on a mail-cart. For the rest 
Rennes was sheer silence and sleep-blind windows 
and dumb cobblestones. For the moment I was the 
life of Rennes, the emotional centre of France. 

But it will wake up presently, I said. For the mo- 
ment the Dreyfusards and the anti-Dreyfusards are 
taking much-needed rest. So I went to bed and woke 
up again at eight, sprang to the window, and Rennes 
was, if anything, a trifle sounder asleep than before. 
It was, on the whole, the least excited-looking town 
I ever saw. 

The hotel looks on to a broad street, with a river 
flowing down the middle of it. From its rigid, stone- 
walled, iron-railed banks you would judge it a canal, 
but I am assured it is a river. On its sepia-green 
water floated a barge, piled up with ladders and planks 
and scaffold-poles, laboriously towed by three men in 
webbed cross-belts. Down the twenty feet from street 
to river led flights of steps here and there, and at the 
bottom women were washing clothes. The back- 
ground of this simplicity was such dignified house- 
architecture as even the provinces of France never 
fail of — tall, large-windowed, stucco-fronted houses, 
with high-gabled, gray-slated roofs — houses that con- 
vey an air of space and comfort and attention to the 
amenities of life. But the shutters were all closed 
against the morning sun, the great doors yawned black 
and cavernous, but nobody passed in or out. Not a 
single "Conspuez" broke the silence. And was this 

It was; and that a very clean, leisurely, character- 




istic, altogether charming bit of provincial France. 
The first striking difference from an EngHsh country 
town is the size of the houses, their look of airy com- 
fort, and the unearthly cleanness of everything. An 
English town of the size would display one uneven, 
bending, irregularly and dingily picturesque high 
street, with shop-fronts elbowing each other aside, 
and a sky-line here four stories high, here two. Here 
five stories is almost the rule in the main streets, and 
the stories are themselves higher. The windows rise 
from floor to ceiling. The stucco might be washed 
daily, and the square-paved, rough stone streets — 
abominable for riding or driving or walking — look as 
though there were no such thing as smoke or mud 
or any kind of dirt in the world. The straw-hatted 
workmen or bare-headed workwomen move with easy- 
minded slowness. It has all the consciousness of 
civilization that distinguishes France — the town of a 
people that has long since learned, as we shall never, 
to make its first business the agreeable living of life. 

Embedded in the suave eighteenth-century amenity 
are little bits of old Rennes. There is the city gate 
whereby the Grand Dukes of Brittany used to enter, 
with defaced escutcheons, with beetle-browed garrets 
over the arch, and a tiny, slant-roofed, latticed, wooden 
hutch — derelict from the Middle Ages, when rooms 
were not built to move in — crouching at its feet. Here 
you see the over-reaching stories of an old house prop- 
ping itself between the severe lines of two new ones; 
there, in a court, an open-fronted, wooden, pagoda- 
built concierge's lodge that might have come straight 
from India. Between the relics puff light street rail- 
way trains — goods trains, mark you, down the main 



street — and electric tramcars hoot, for nowhere is in- 
dustrial civilization more brutally utilitarian than in 
aesthetic France. Dreyfus returning 

True: I was forgetting Dreyfus. This was June 
28th. He was to arrive, said all but official sources, 
to-night or the first thing to-morrow morning. The 
enterprise of French and English newspapers had 
glutted the hotels with correspondents and artists and 
the operators of the cinematographs. We waited for 
the great moment of the arrival — waited and waited. 
"Any news?" was the morning salutation, and there 
were only two variants in the answer: either *'No" or 
"1 have just heard from a good source that Dreyfus 
has arrived.'' The partisans on each side in the town 
were organizing and counter-organizing, libelling and 
boycoting, but nothing appeared on the surface. 
Everybody was straining every nerve upon waiting — 
waiting with fierce and concentrated energy. 

The strategetic waiting-point was about a quarter of 
a mile of road between the railway station and the 
military prison. Little crowds — a dozen is a crowd in 
Rennes — gathered to look at the gate through which, 
it was by now decided, Dreyfus would not pass from 
his cell to the trial. Others, especially we corre- 
spondents, put in an occasional sentry-go round the 
prison to make sure that an incalculable Government 
had not moved it somewhere else in the last half hour. 
It was uninteresting enough to look at — a high stone 
wall, with a shapeless stone building rising above it. 
But the intriguing fact about it was that the yard had 
two gates, and who could tell through which they 
would take him? It was some relief to the strain of 
this uncertainty that they were within ten yards of 



each other, so that it was possible for an active man to 
watch both at the same time. Yet more exciting was an 
oblong bit of building whence three barred second- 
story windows appeared above the wall. One (or two) 
of these lit Dreyfus's cell, and the other two (or one) 
Du Paty de Clam's. But which — O, spirit of jour- 
nalism, which?* In this same strategetic line, by good 
luck, was Mme. Godard's house, where Mme. Dreyfus 
was to stay. 

Meanwhile Mme. Godard — who did not know Drey- 
fus or anybody to do with him, and had taken in his 
wife out of sheer generosity when everybody else was 
afraid — was the public character of Rennes, of France, 
of Europe. That being so, you will readily believe 
that she might sit for the absolute type of the middle- 
class French old lady. Small, soft, silver-haired, a trifle 
wizened, with a slightly projecting under-lip, bustling 
in manner, gently decided and rapid though a little 
lisping in speech, breathing homely kindness and 
energy in every word and gesture — you nave seen her 
on the stage a hundred times. But she was indirectly 
concerned with Dreyfus, and therefore the heroine of 
one half of France and tne she-devil of the other. 

I went there with a friend: she was just going out, 
and we exchanged, between the three of us, about 
twenty quite ordinary sentences. We came out just 
as she drove away. Round the gate, staring pas- 
sionately at the back of the carriage, stood a huge 
crowd — at least twenty. A decorated journalist walked 

* As a matter of fact, neither ; Du Paty de Clam was being 
tried at the moment, but was acquitted on the ground of act- 
ing under orders from his superiors. 



quickly up and asked where she was going. One or 
two enthusiasts ran after the carriage. Truly we live 
in stirring times. 

I, too, must be up and doing — must brace up and 
go out and wait. The prison gate clamoured to be 
looked at. 

June 30th, and we are still waiting for Dreyfus. 

I am not quite sure whether, historically speaking, 
I have been here two days or three. Spiritually I have 
been at Rennes nearly all my life. I can hardly re- 
member what happened at the station when I arrived ; 
and I look back at myself in Holborn Viaduct Sta- 
tion last Tuesday — ye gods, how young I was last 
Tuesday ! — as it were through the wrong end of a mile- 
long telescope. Such endless vistas of empty time, 
such wilderness of nothing, divide me from last Tues- 
day. Shall I ever see a Tuesday again? 

I seem to know Rennes by heart, every feature of 
it. The spotless, empty streets; the distant hoot of 
empty tramcars; the brown-cheeked Breton women, 
in their little flat white lace caps, kneeling in little 
boxes in the river, and beating dirty linen on drawing 
boards with butter patters, the closed doors of the 
railway station, the blank walls of the prison — I have 
grown up and grown old among them all. Corre- 
spondents of papers in Paris and Chicago, in Madrid 
and Helsingfors, unheard of yesterday, are to-day my 
oldest friends. I no longer even smile at the spectacle 
of a score of intelligent men patrolling empty streets 
through the hours of sleep on the chance of seeing 
for ten seconds a man whom they would not know if 
they did see him, and who, if they did know him, 



would not matter. In forty-eight hours Rennes has 
brought me to this, that I give my whole life to the 
elaborate and conscientious execution of nothing, and 
no longer feel a fool. 

It is all the eternal instinct of sport, of emulation, of 
gambling. Implanted in man by an ironical Creator 
it leads him ever to expend infinite effort and infinite 
patience, on ends which are only not utterly insignifi- 
cant because of this very effort and patience that man 
lavishes on them. This Dreyfus hunt of ours is on 
the exact level of a dumpling-eating competition, or 
of betting on the color of the next horse that turns 
into St. James's Street. It is no earthly good to 
Dreyfus or to France or to you — [There goes that 
cavalry subaltern again. He rides up the street every 
day at a quarter to three, and back again at a quarter 
to four; I suppose he has been doing it since the crea- 
tion of the world] and least of all is it any good to us. 
But because we have begun it, and the others do it, 
we all do it, and go on doing it. 

In this desert of waiting, the one oasis — the arrival 
of Madame Dreyfus — attained the rank of a public 
event of first-class importance. When the unfortunate 
woman arrived one afternoon in Rennes, she found 
the station quite full of men and women waiting to 
look at her. On the platform were the Director of the 
Political Police and his second-in-command, the Pre- 
fect, the whole Press of Paris and of most of the 
civilized world. Outside the station was a crowd of 
a couple of hundred or so — I suppose the vastest as- 
sembly of human being Rennes ever saw. Between 
them walked the dolorous procession of wife and re- 
lations to the shelter of Madame Godard's. "Hisses 



resound,'' said the local anti-Dreyfusard organ next 
day, "a. few are found who raise the hat before the 
wife of the traitor." "Hats fly off," said the local 
Dreyfusard organ; *'a few were found who hiss the 
symbol of suffering womanhood." As a matter of 
fact nobody much was found who did anything but 
stare. After the garden gate was shut a man's straw 
hat was visible above it; I do not know whether or 
not there was a head beneath the hat, but Rennes and 
Paris and good part of the world stared at it con- 
scientiously for half an hour. 

As for Dreyfus, whom we were there for, there was 
no reason why, for all our vigilance, we should see 
him come, if the authorities did not wish it, or even 
why he should come just now at all. 

Our only hope was in the dramatic instincts of the 
French ofificials. The French official could not waste 
his Dreyfus. A closed carriage drives rapidly up to 
the prison at the dead of night — four cloaked figures 
inside, two on the box. One springs down, goes 
swiftlv to the postern and utters a pass-word. The 
double gate springs open, the carriage wheels and 
clatters in, the gates roll back — Comme ca! Bravo, 
Messieurs the authorities! 

It was the object, therefore, of the journalistic world 
— which appeared to be about 95 per cent, of the 
population of Rennes; you assumed that every man 
you met in hotel or cafe was a journalist — to be on 
the spot at this sublime moment. With this view we 
employed our day as follows. 

The morning hardly counts; in this kind of Hfe the 
morning is really the end of the day before. We re- 
ally begin to live about breakfast time, which is twelve 



o'clock. We go down to the dining-room of the hotel 
and enter with a polite obeisance to the company. 
There are a few ladies, a couple of ofhcers, some 
townspeople, and a student or two. At ordinary times 
I imagine they form little islands at the big centre 
table and the round side tables; but in these days the 
intervening space is overrun and fused with a lava of 

"Good day, confrere. Any news? They say that 
this man has arrived during the night. He would be 
in the prison now. But I, I do not believe it." 

**Nor L It will be for to-night. Listen! I have 
learned that the Commissary of Police left yesterday 
in the direction of Brest by the train due — " 

And so on. In the intervals we are fed with a most 
enormous meal of radishes, anchovies, cold veal — cold 
veal by way of an appetiser! — fish, eggs, ragout of 
mutton and haricot beans, beef steak and potatoes, a 
sort of Breton junket and sugar, cherries and green 
almonds. That over we stagger out to the cafe. 
Confreres from other hotels drop in; we read the 
papers and talk. We talk of the arrival of Dreyfus. 
As soon as digestion allow^s, we start off by single twos 
or threes to look at the prison, to look at the railway 
station, to look at Madame Godard's. All these thor- 
oughly looked at, the keener spirits steal away to in- 
terview, if possible, the brother-in-law of Dreyfus, the 
friend of Madame Godard, the man who knows the 
leader of the local Anti-Dreyfusards, the gendarme on 
guard at the railway station. The slacker sort sit, as it 
seems to me, outside the cafe all the afternoon, occa- 
sionally rising to go to the telegraph office, which was 
providently built next door to the cafe, to send to their 



papers a short article on the return of Dreyfus. For 
me, I return to the hotel to write. 

[Here comes that cavalry subaltern again. I sup- 
pose he has been to the end of the world and back 

I go out to the cafe again. The confreres are there, 
if possible, in greater numbers than ever. There is a 
band playing — I feel as thougn I had known the lady 
who takes round the napkin-covered plate in a pre- 
vious existence — but there is nothing to drink except 
sticky, sweet syrups, which are bad for the body, and 
vermouth, which is bad for the soul, and absinthe, 
which is bad for both; and there is nothing to do 
but talk — an occupation I detest. Presently, thank 
Heaven, it is dinner-time — soup, anchovy, cold veal, 
fish, duck, mutton, beef, chicken, pudding, ice, maca- 
roons, strawberries, cherries, and green almonds. 

Out to the cafe again. Again the band is playing 
and the lady taking round the plate and wrapping up 
our talents in a napkin. Cofifee, cognac, tobacco, talk. 
At eleven or so the Anglo-American part of the com- 
pany goes to the cafe chantant', to the more experi- 
enced French it is so dull that it is even duller than 
the cafe. There is a large room with plenty of gas, 
a stage with a faded scene apparently representing 
Fujiyama or the Bay of Naples or something, and a 
lady singing a song of which I can only understand 
the refrain — rum-tum-tum, rum-tum-tum. Will no one 
tell me what she sings? Certainly they will, most 
readily, and then I understand that my curiosity was 
almost indelicate. Grouped about the room are about 
eight ladies in skirts and portions of bodices; every 
now and then one of them disappears through a door, 



appears on the stage and sings a song. The only per- 
son that really interests me at the cafe chantant is the 
orchestra. He is a solitary pianist in a cloth cap, which 
he never takes off. I should say he was young from 
the look of his back, but he never turns round. He 
never speaks or moves or looks at the stage or even 
shifts his cap; he just accompanies, like a machine. 
I wonder whether he knows that, bamng the perform- 
ers, there are not ten people in the place, and of those 
five foreigners. 

By now it is near twelve, and the real Dreyfus hunt 
begins. Some have long installed themselves in a 
cafe near the station, but about this time the cafe peo- 
ple want to go to bed. So out into the street turns 
everybody — and waits. The few last inhabitants stump 
up the street singing and disappear. Silence comes 
down over the town. We stroll slowly round and 
round and round the prison. Not a soul, not a sound. 
Yes, what is that in the dark o-ateway? There emerge 
three cloaked mysterious figures. Hist! Where are 
they going? Who are they? One turns and moves 
as if to speak. "Bon soir, confreresT falls cheerfully 
on the darkness. 

Round again, round again, round and round and 
round. A sound of voices falls on the ear; it is only 
a group of confreres exchanging calculations as to the 
probable speed of a special train from Brest — or else- 
where — to Rennes. But hark! there is the rattle of 
a carriage : on these paving-stones you can hear it the 
other side of the town. Nearer and nearer — ah, it has 
turned of? — no, it is coming down here; there is the 
lamp. This way! It is going straight for the prison 
door; run, or you will miss him. It stops at the very 



gate; a cloaked figure springs nimbly out. ''Bon soir, 
confreres r he affably remarks. 
It will be for to-morrow. 

* * * :i= 

"At last! This time it is official. It will be for to- 
night at two o'clock." 

From confrere to confrere ran the joyful news. At 
last he really was arriving, and in future there would 
be a reasonable chance of sleep at night. Before din- 
ner, as we sat in the everlasting cafe, there came fresh 
confirmation in a huge black paragraph in one of the 
local newspapers. He was coming from the direction 
of Lorient by a special train, arriving at 2.4. Why 
they, being but journalists, should know better than 
we, I cannot say; but they had the moral advantage 
of being in print first. Everybody was now quite cer- 
tain. The confreres girded themselves for a final vigil. 
Nor was it the Press alone. Before this fateful Fri- 
day we had had the town and the night to ourselves. 
But when at nine or so, we arrived at the little cafe 
chantant opposite the railway station — it was too risky, 
we told ourselves, to go to-night to the usual one in 
the town — it was doing such business as surely was 
never done in Rennes before. Every table was full: 
the steam of drying clothes — it was raining cats and 
dogs outside — filled the place with the climate of a 

Such of the company as were not journaHsts were 
mostly students — the wonderful student of France, so 
wildly opposed to all our ideas of an undergraduate. 
The French student will wear, and think nothing of 
it, a frock-coat unbuttoned off a green and violet 
checked shirt, bicycling knickerbockers, and yellow 



buttoned boots; the loose loops of his tie cover his 
whole chest; his hat will be white and brown plaited 
straw, with a red and black ribbon bearing a firmament 
of black and red stars. His untrimmed beard makes 
him look thirty instead of twenty-two, which he is; 
and his clay pipe suggests that he hopes to be taken 
for a working man. None the less, he is a courteous 
and good-hearted gentleman, and a very prince of 
hospitalit>'. So for that matter, to French stranger 
and foreign stranger alike, is every inhabitant of 
Rennes I have met. 

The parboiled crowd lent but a languid ear to the 
performers, though the plate which each brought 
round after each effort was filled with pennies beyond 
the dreams of benefits. All applauded with one ear 
cocked to the splashing of the rain outside. From 
time to time one would rise and mysteriously disap- 
pear, returning in twenty minutes with a dutiful air 
that suggested a visit to the telegraph office. The 
slacker of us were content with the eternal talk on the 
eternal subject. Perhaps he will be before his time; 
we must leave nothing to chance. Will he come to 
the station, to the arsenal, to the little gate by the 
barracks of the loth Cavalry, to some place down the 
line? Better follow the Figaro; he is sure to know. 
Better follow the Temps. The Matin, too, has good 
information. Better concentrate on the prison. Only 
at which gate? 

Let us take a turn now and see if anything is mov- 
ing. Was there not a rumour after all that he might 
arrive as early as eleven? It was still raining, though 
less resolutely. Round and round the block of build- 
ings we patrolled; there was not a light within nor a 



sound; only from the neighbouring tan-yard a dog 
howled violently. Round the whole circuit — perhaps 
a quarter of a mile of irregular quadrangle — there was 
no sign, except other prowlers on the same quest as 
ourselves. But what is that? Tramp, tramp, tramp — 
a squad of gendarmes emerging from a by-street and 
patrolling also. Now last night and the night before 
there was never a sign of a gendarme; surely that 
must mean business. 

Minutes drip by with the rain ; a quarter of an hour 
becomes a half. Nothing new — only what is that 
white flash of light down by the station? Figures 
start out of the dark and begin to stream hurriedly 
down the road; then check one after another, and 
turn back with short laughs. It is only one of the 
photographers taking a flash-light picture of the crowd 
at the cafe. It is the end of the evening there; the 
crowd has turned out and comes strolling up the road 
to the prison. Midnight, and the rain is dying off. 
For the rest of the time, at least, we shall be dry. 

The crowd was now complete — perhaps three hun- 
dred of it. The journalists walk round unceasingly 
in twos and threes; the students and the rest fixed on 
what they thought a likely point and stayed there. 
There are doors in all four sides of the block of build- 
ings, and now, they said, a passage had been made 
inside between the military prison proper and the 
building where the trial will be; therefore Dreyfus 
might be taken in at any one of them. At any corner 
of the building a man could command two sides, as 
far as the gas lamps would let him; two could com- 
mand the whole, and three could signal to each other 
an approach on any side. But these strategic consider- 



ations were only for journalists; the irresponsible 
crowd preferred to keep all together. So they col- 
lected in the main street, at the corner nearest to the 
railway station, and smoked, and joked, and waited. 

One o'clock was long past, and as it began to draw 
near 2.4 some nerves began to tighten and quiver. On 
other nights the wheels of a cab on the cobbles had 
been as an alarm bugle; to-night the first cab brought 
on a wild stampede. But that was only for the first; 
to-night cabs were quite common. Each charged with 
journalists, they rumbled from the prison to the tele- 
graph ofBce, and from the telegraph office to the sta- 
tion, and from the station to the arsenal, and from 
the arsenal back to the prison again. Two o'clock; 
2.4, and not a sign. Half-past, and a cab came back 
from the telegraph office with news. A despatch from 
Paris said that he had certainly landed, and would 
certainly come. Another story, purporting to be from 
the railway station, said that the special had broken 

The crowd had left its first corner now, and col- 
lected at the opposite one, close to the actual gate of 
the miHtary prison — the likeliest place, you would 
have said, if only it had not been so obvious. The 
crowd was apparently beginning to get a little tired of 
it. Three o'clock and half-past — it would be broad 
daylight in half an hour. Already the background 
of the sullen clouds was a little lighter. A cock crew 
inside the prison. 

Ugh! It began to grow cold with the keen wind 
of dawn. Ever>'body was growing silent; the wet w^as 
soaking through their boots; their feet were galled 
on the cobbles. Hardly anybody was walking now, 



hardly anybody talking. The blue-black sky was 
tinged with violet now, and the scent of hay stole on 
to the air. Turn one way, and you were in the lighten- 
ing, freshening, chaste-coloured dawn; the other, and 
you saw a silent clump oi black people motionless in 
an island of yellow glare from one gas lamp. There 
is always something of a miracle in daybreak — the 
new light and life creeping in on you so imperceptibly 
till suddenly you are astonished that the night has 
vanished without warning. Here the sensation was 
underlined; it was almost indecent, almost a mon- 
strosity, that this black group in the garish light re- 
mained just as they were last night and refused to be 
transfigured with the rest of the world. 

But that for another season; meanwhile what on 
earth has become of Dreyfus? The change from night 
to day woke everybody up to the truth that they had 
waited and he had not come. What does it mean? 
Where are the leading journalists? Perhaps at the 
telegraph, perhaps at the station; anyhow not here. 
It grows Hghter and lighter; they would never bring 
him in by daylight. A cab drives up from the station, 
stops; a head is put out to speak, and instantly the 
whole crowd is about it. The ofificials at the station 
are bowled over; they cannot understand it. The spe- 
cial train that was to come — has not. The prefect's sec- 
retary has gone home. And as the cab, perplexed 
and frantic, clatters off towards the telegraph, there 
stamp along the pavement the clogs of the first work- 

Another disappointment. The merely curious had 
begun to drain away with the first breath of day; now 
the crowd melted quicker and quicker, till hardly more 



than a score were left. "Two nights without sleep," 
grumbles a white-faced correspondent. "Five," cor- 
rects him one who can hardly keep his eyes open. 
Well, we must resign ourselves. And yet — and yet 
there seems no doubt he started. The streets are 
filling up fast now with work-people and carts, yet 
the prison gate is quite solitary. I will take this end, 
you that; give him another hour. 

As I stood alone — the one left of hundreds — and 
watched the gate, it stealthily half opened. A gen- 
darme put his head out, then put it back. Then it 
opened again; an officer put his head out and put it 
back. After all, what was there in that? A gendarme 
appeared round the street corner, knocked at the 
gate, went in, came out again in a moment, and went 
away. After all, why should not a gendarme have 
business in a prison? Quarter to six, nearly six, and, 

O Lord, Fm sleepy. This really is getting too 

Hi! A yell from the watcher at the other end of the 
street, and he whips out of sight round the corner. 
As I am getting started after him, he whips back 
again, a tearing crowd at his heels. Heavens, they 
are coming to my corner! I tear back and round — 
and he is come! 

Two carriages are driving rapidly towards me. 
And the dead-walled street, ten seconds ago so empty 
that you would say nobody had passed down it since 
it was made, is swarming full of gendarmes. Out of 
doors, down from windows, over walls, out of the 
very ground, it seems, they spring and scamper. A 
frantic cry from one of the carriages, and both check 
to let the gendarmes get in front. The first dashes 
past me, screaming, "Move on! move on!" hardly 



articulate in his excitement. His fellows rush up just 
in time to meet the crowd rushing up from the other 
way. They form a line across the street, and make a 
barrier of carbines held athwart their bodies. They 
are all as pale as death — all licking lips dry with ex- 
citement. Back! Move on! Back, back! A little 
man in a sweater appears behind them, in command, 
he, too, screaming ''Back, back!" The carriages now 
appear again round the corner; the gate in this street 
is suddenly seen to be open. The first carriage rolls 
in; men jump /rom the second and rush in after it. 
Gendarmes still on your toes, public still on your 
heels, "Back, back!" still bawled down your throat — 
and the door is shut, and Dreyfus is inside. The gen- 
darmes halt and are silent; their cordon bars the street. 
The crowd resumes its old occupation of looking in- 
tently at nothing. 

Nine hours of watching, two minutes of seeing. 
But two minutes of seeing almost worth watching for 
— the best conceived, neatest, quickest bit of stage- 
management in the history of government. You 
rubbed your eyes and wondered if it was real; at a 
word you would almost have resumed watching again. 

Bravo, Messieurs the authorities! We had seen 
everything except Dreyfus. 



Paris was changed. There was the August stench 
of the streets — less evenly spread, but even intenser 
than London's. The gasping drinkers on the boule- 
vards, the perspiring eaters in the restaurants, seemed 
sparser than they had been. And the approach to the 
Montparnasse railway station — whence the railway 
train shied into the street — was like a pass when the 
baggage of an army is shoving through. The only 
way to have got up quickly would have been to hop 
along the roofs of the cabs. 

Everybody was off out of Paris — to St. Malo, to 
Dinard, to Granville, and seemingly everybody was off 
by the same train. At the ticket-windows the first 
joint of the tail seized the occasion to discuss exhaus- 
tively with the lady inside the particular kind of cheap 
return which he would do best to take, and doubled 
the delay by submitting each point to female relations 
outside the barrier. I had a moment's horrible suspi- 
cion that all were going to the trial of Dreyfus. 

Then Rennes — but Rennes unchanged — if possible, 
more unchanged than ever. And as after three days 
there before I felt as if I had lived there all my life, so 
now after three hours I feel as if I had never been away. 
London? Paris? No; I have been there, but I cannot 
remember them. But Rennes — the sepia-green canal- 
river that runs down the main street before the hotel, 
the square-cobbled, rattling streets, the bark of half- 
empty trolley-cars, the brown-cheeked Breton women 
kneeling on their washing-boards in the stream, the 
blue-bloused Breton men hauling on tow-ropes, the 



sauntering black-gowned, shovel-hatted priests, the 
great placid blue boar-hounds, the tight-closed shutters 
of the big yellow houses, the utter desolation of clean- 
ness — Oh, yes, I know it all — have known it since the 
beginning of time. And what an astonishing contrast 
— the Dreyfus case and Rennes! If one thing more 
was needed to throw the poignant drama into relief, it 
was the dead silence of this dead town in which it was 

The blank-faced railway station, the blind-eyed 
prison, the eight-course breakfast, the sips at the cafe, 
the voluble bearded fellow-correspondents — all exactly 
as I left them. Except that the confreres this time are 
more numerous than ever. 

They filled every hotel, every boarding-house, every 
furnished lodging, every restaurant, almost every shop. 
On the Saturday night of August 5th they were even 
enlarging the cafe. It was not a complicated opera- 
tion ; the patron himself seized the shrubs in tubs that 
form its outer walls, and pulled them forward into the 
square until his premises were enlarged by a third. 
From the state of the ground where the bottoms of the 
tubs had been, I conjecture that the cafe never saw 
such an event before. 

The confreres themselves were from every corner of 
the reading world, and they looked it. They had a 
pleasant legend that Saturday afternoon that twelve 
Turkish journalists had arrived and found one seat al- 
lowed to the dozen. There were British and Ameri- 
can correspondents who knew their business — so much 
so that in a week both the leading cafes of Rennes had 
laid in a stock of what they miscalled Scotch whiskey — 
and there were correspondents from Sweden and Rus- 



sia who neither would nor could correspond at all. 
There was a Spanish Anarchist — a quiet, gentlemanly 
fellow — who had made his name by firing on the po- 
lice at Barcelona. There was a placid, infantile, mid- 
dle-aged journalist from Japan. Every correspondent 
who came from Germany or Austria had added to that 
injury the insult of being also a Jew. No less than 
three of them piled up the supreme outrage of being 
named Dreyfus. 

But the French confreres were still the most outland- 
ish. For the typical Parisian life is a perpetual mas- 
querade; he must always be appearing as something. 
One came as a bicyclist in a flannel shirt over an ex- 
pansive stomach, and madame's bloomers ; he had a 
bicycle, but never rode it. Another came as an auto- 
mobilist, in gaiters and an oil-cloth cap; he had prob- 
ably never more than smelt an automobile. A French 
Swiss came as a mountaineer; you expected daily to 
see him in court with an ice-axe. Several finding 
themselves within a couple of hours of the sea, ap- 
peared as yachtsmen. A few were disguised as Eng- 
lishmen. Their ways were as wonderful as their garb. 
Most of them were very siphons of frothing excite- 
ment all through the trial. They collected news main- 
ly from each other; they could have done just as well 
without any trial or any Dreyfus. One little man espe- 
cially commanded my admiration. He was never idle, 
and never did an}1:hing, was always hurrying some- 
where, and never got anywhere. He was like a wasp 
under a tumbler, surrounded by invisible walls which 
prevented him from ever getting to the place he 
started for. He would spring up agitatedly in the mid- 
dle of nothing, dash himself violently into the invisible 



wall, turn and rebound swiftly in the opposite direc- 
tion, rebound gain, sink into a chair, spring up again, 
rebound again. He ricocheted thus off nothing for 
five weeks without pause. 

On Saturday afternoon they allotted us tickets in 
the Bourse de Commerce. At ordinary times the 
Bourse de Commerce seems to be like a corn ex- 
change, except that there seems to be no corn and no 
exchanging; to-day it was a mixture of the examina- 
tion schools at Oxford and the gallery door of a music- 
hall. In part of it they are hammering together rows 
of little desks with a noise that leaves you doubting 
whether the hammer hit the nail or your own ear; this 
was to transform the place into a hall of correspond- 
ence. For Rennes, hospitable in this as in all things, 
put its Bourse de Commerce, because there was no 
room in the telegraph office, at the disposal of the 
Press. In another part sit five gentlemen behind a 
table with lists and tickets. A swollen torrent of con- 
fr^res surges in the doorway, barely restrained by a 
suave little old gentleman, who assures them that if 
they will only wait patiently for three hours every- 
body will be served. Five by five they struggle in and 
receive their passes. Parisians and provincials, 
agencies and foreigners from San Francisco to Yoko- 
hama, each rightly feels that unless his own particular 
organ knows all there is to know the greatest State 
trial of the century will be but a toad-in-the-hole after 
all. Especially we foreigners groaned because we 
were allotted half a ticket each instead of a whole one. 
But, after all, it was France's Dreyfus trial and not 
ours; we had no right to so much as a seat every other 
day. The only thing was that there was really plenty of 



room in the Press seats if only it had been better dis- 
tributed. The Times, Morning Post and Daily News, 
the New York Journal and Neue Freie Presse had 
only half a ticket; the Aftonhladet of I don't know 
where had two whole ones, and, as far as anybody 
could see, used neither. One lucky London paper 
found that it had to share its ticket with the National 
Liberal Club, a publication which did not put in an 
appearance. Others were coupled up with Various, 
whose correspondent was also absent. 

Here was again the amazing contrast between the 
straining interest of the world, embodied in its re- 
porters, and that phlegmatic indifference of Rennes. 
On the eve of the trial you saw nothing new but jour- 
nalists. Witnesses there must be by now, no doubt; 
there was one in shining garments at lunch, who could 
not be less than a general, and may be as much as the 
custodian of the secret dossier. Others, no doubt, 
there were, but till the last moment we did not see 
them. Advocates were here too ; and the prisoner was 
always here in the scantily furnished cell behind the 
barred windows. The back streets round the prison, 
which used to be thronged every night like a fair, were 
quite empty. Only the clustering journalists, one or 
two at every table, one or two strolling in every street, 
stood for the tense expectation of a whole civilization. 

The note was silent, tight-strung expectation. The 
very journalists were less full of rumours than they 
were last time. The populace was made of apathy. 
France — Paris itself — was all but calm. 

In dead silence the curtain was to go up on the last 
act of the great drama. And what a climax! We 
should have all the actors on the scene — Ministers, of- 



ficers, experts in writing, simple citizens, accusers, 
themselves accused, disinterested champions of truth, 
relatives fighting for their kin, traitor and patriot, vic- 
tim and assassin. We should have every motive of 
melodrama — treachery, forgery, prison, suicide, lawful 
and unlawful love, conspiracies, cryptograms, the bu- 
reaux of secret services in the foreground and the pal- 
isade of Devil's Island for the back-scene. The voice 
of a great nation was the chorus, and the issue her 
distraction or her peace. 

And we were to see and hear the accused — the great- 
est figure in France, which no one knows. The name 
of Dreyfus is known more widely than those of heroes 
and sages; yet who knows so much as whether he is 
handsome or plain, brilHant or stupid, good or bad? 
He is the most-talked-of-man in the world, and has 
himself forgotten how to talk — the most famous man 
in the world, and the world knows nothing of him. 
The mighty blank! And in two days the world will 
have begun to fill him in ! 


The Trial was to begin at half-past six. It wanted 
a quarter of an hour of the time w^hen a line of mount- 
ed gendarmes, pushing the crowd out of the neighbour- 
ing streets, proclaimed that they were taking Dreyfus 
across the road from the military prison to the High 
School, in whose lecture-hall he was to be arraigned. 
A moment later the line opened, and the crowd of 
journalists, waving their passes, pushed through. They 
jammed in at a narrow door, up stone steps, through 
another doorway, round a corner, inside a cordon of 
infantry, and they were in the court. It was a lofty, 
oblong, buff-plastered hall larger than the Prince's 
Restaurant, smaller than St. James's Hall. With 
large windov/s on each side — square in the lower tier, 
circular in the upper — it was almost as light as the day 
outside; round the cornice were emblazoned the names 
of Chateaubriand, Lamennais, Renan, and the intellec- 
tuals of Brittany. At the top w^as a stage, its front 
filled with a long table, behind this seven crimson- 
covered seats for the judges. A white Christ on a 
black cross, hanging on the back wall above the Presi- 
dent's chair proclaimed the place a Court of Justice. 
On the right, as you faced the stage, were a small 
raised table and seats for the counsel of the accused; 
on the left a similar erection for the prosecuting Com- 
missary of the Government and his assistants. Down 
each side of the body of the hall was a strip of ex- 
temporized match-board bench and desk for the Press. 
In the broader centre were seats for the witnesses, 
then, behind a bar, for the favoured public. Behind 
all this ran another bar lined by a guard of the 41st 



Infantry. Behind their homely peasant faces and be- 
tween their fixed bayonets peered the general public, 
five deep, in the shallowest of strips at the very back 
of the hall. 

The Press stampeded and trampled over the match- 
board, and in the fulness of time sorted itself into its 
appointed places. The general public shifted and 
scrunched behind the barrier. The centre of the hall 
began to fill up with witnesses, with officers of in- 
fantry in red pantaloons and gunners in black. Behind 
the dais appeared a sprinkling of selected spectators. 
Then, on the waxing bustle of the hall, came in men 
in black gowns with little white-edged tippets and 
white bands, with queer high black caps like birettas. 
Now we should see. And next moment — it was al- 
ready past seven — there was a hoarse cry from behind 
' — present arms! — rattle — and there filed in the seven 
officers in whose hands rests the conscience of France. 
The President — a small but soldierly man in eye- 
glasses, with black hair and a small face, a huge white 
moustache and imperial — saluted and sat down. Bring 
in the accused. 

Instantly the black, rippling hall is still as marble, 
silent as the grave. A sergeant usher went to a door 
— the tramp of his feet was almost startling — on the 
right hand of the top of the hall. It opened and two 
officers stepped out. One of them was the greatest 
villain or the greatest victim in France — and for the 
moment men wondered which was he. It seemed al- 
most improper that the most famous man in the world 
was walking in just as you or I might. 

Then all saw him, and the whole hall broke into a 
gasp. There came in a little old man — an old, old 



man of thirty-nine, A middle-statured, thick-set old 
man in the black uniform of the artillery ; over the red 
collar his hair was gone white as silver, and on the 
temples and at the back of the crown he was bald. As 
he turned to face the judges there was a glimpse of a 
face both burned and pale — a rather broad, large feat- 
ured face with a thrusting jaw and chin. It was not 
Jewish in expression until you saw it in profile. The 
eyes under the glasses were set a trifle close together, 
and not wholly sympathetic either; you might guess 
him hard, stubborn, cunning. But this is only guess- 
ing: what we did see in the face was suffering and ef- 
fort — a misery hardly to be borne, and a tense, agon- 
ized striving to bear and to hide it. Here is a man, 
you would say, who has endured things unendurable, 
and just lives through — maybe to endure more. 

He walked up two steps to his seat with a gait full 
of resolve yet heavy, constrained, mechanical — such 
a gait as an Egyptian mummy might walk with if it 
came to life in its swathing grave-clothes. He sa- 
luted the President with a white-gloved hand, took off 
his kepi, sat down. An officer of gendarmes followed 
and sat down behind him. The recorder, rising from 
beside the prosecuting officer, read out the general 
order constituting the court; then the white mous- 
tache and imperial twitched as the President, in a 
small voice, put a question to the prisoner. Another 
sudden stillness; then came the voice of Dreyfus. No 
one heard what he said — thin, sapless, split, it was such 
as might rustle from the lips of a corpse. 

What he had said was, ''Alfred Dreyfus; Captain 
of Artillery; thirty-nine years." With these three 
common phrases he broke the silence of four and a 



half years. Nothing could be more formal, and yet 
here in the first five minutes of the trial was summed 
up the whole incredibly romantic history. Alfred Drey- 
fus — five years ago nobody knew there was such a 
name in the world; now the leading comic singer of 
Paris, who was born with it, has changed it because 
it is too embarrassingly famous. Captain of Artillery 
— and generals who have led armies in the presence 
of the enemy have lost their commands because of him. 
Thirty-nine years — and here were men who were 
known before he was born staking their ripe reputa- 
tions for or against him. Sitting within ten yards of 
him were Casimir-Perier, the only living ex-Chief of 
the State in which he was a simple unit ; Mercier, Bil- 
lot, Cavaignac, Zurlinden, Chanoine — five successive 
heads, and half a dozen generals besides, of the army 
in which he was an unregarded subordinate; Hano- 
taux, the Minister who for years has conducted foreign 
relations in which he could never have dreamed of 
figuring — all there because he was. Novelists like 
Prevost and Mirbeau, essayists like Maurice Barres, 
philosophers like Max Nordau, French journalists like 
Arthur Meyer and Comely, foreign journalists who 
linked the whole world together — they had all come to 
see him. There were men like Picquart and Lebrun- 
Renault, nobodies when last he saw and spoke with 
them — now famous in two continents just because they 
had seen and spoken with him. Most dramatic of all, 
there was a little, close-veiled woman in black — 
Madame Henry — a woman he had never seen, widow 
of a man whom he never knew, yet who had risen to 
celebrity and fallen to an infamous death because of 



What did he think of such a miracle, such an irony? 
To all appearances he did not think of it at all. He 
sat rigid and upright, hugging his chair close with 
back and legs and feet, his hands folded on the kepi 
on his knees. He was concentrating all the energies 
of a mind starved for five years on the answers he 
would presently make to the charges against him. He 
had time, for there followed over two hours of tech- 
nicality. There was a flicker of interest when they 
read out the names of the witnesses, and these rose 
in their places to cry 'Tresent!" The curious might 
see the backs of all the most famous heads in France, 

But neither Du Paty de Clam nor Esterhazy, sus- 
pected traitor and certain scoundrel, answers to his 
name. After that short flicker comes a brief adjourn- 
ment, the judges go out and the prisoner too. 

It is getting stuffy in court, and we begin to remem- 
ber that we got up at five. As a change from yawning, 
all go out into the sunny courtyard: and here, among 
gendarmes and infantry, you can look closer at the 
witnesses and chief persons — a living handbook to 
the Dreyfus case. You may note that General de 
BoisdeflFre looks distinguished and soldierly, General 
Mercier hardly more lifelike than Dreyfus, M. Cavaig- 
nac, narrow-faced and narrow-chested, like a school- 
master — which is exactly what he ought to have been, 
and delivered aphorisms on virtue. Picquart is dis- 
appointing: his civilian clothes fit him shockingly; 
but presently you see that his face wears a large ex- 
pression, tolerant and reasonable. There are many 
more — Mathieu Dreyfus, the prisoner's brother, with 
an open, capable Alsatian face; reporter-poets from 
Paris—- you would not know their names — ^by the half- 



dozen, showing every cut of beard from a second mous- 
tache bordering the whole underHp to a growth that 
covers a waistcoat. Of the counsel, Maitre Demange, 
who defended Dreyfus in 1894, looks the rather rubi- 
cund yet sour type of a lawyer all the world over. But 
Maitre Labori, the advocate of Zola, is the most at- 
tractive figure in court. He is fair-haired, fair-beard- 
ed, with something of the look of a Viking and all of 
the build. He tops his colleagues by the head; his 
chest is vast both in breadth and depth; in every move- 
ment is that of a good-humored giant overflowing with 
energy and force. 

Tinkle goes the bell; judges and prisoner come in 
again. The Recorder reads the Act of Accusation of 
the first trial; it is long, and has been public property 
for a year and a half^ — and we got up at five. But 
when it is over comes the moment of the day. The 
President addresses the prisoner in a voice suave yet 
sharp, and Dreyfus stands up. He is round-shouldered, 
yet he stands bolt upright, and looks his judge hard 
in the face. A paper is handed to him — the bordereau, 
at once the act and evidence of treachery. Did he 
write that? 

Again an instant's dead silence — and then again 
the dry, split, dead man's voice. It is the voice of a 
man who has forgotten how to speak, who is strug- 
gling desperately to master tones which crumble and 
fail him. The voice rises — half a shriek, and half a 
sob. But the words you hear are, "I am innocent, my 
colonel." Then the colonel's soft tones again and 
more answers. The brake of the 120-millimetre gun, 
the artillery firing-manual, Dreyfus's journeys to Al- 
sace, a suggested trip to Brussels, his relations with 



an Austrian mistress, his alleged confession — a string 
of cross-examination. It is difficult to follow the ques- 
tions; but after five minutes the answers are heard in 
every corner of the hall. He has found his voice, and 
it is thick and full. "No; no, my colonel; never; I 
never played ; I do not know him ; I never said so" — the 
denials follow on the questions sharpl} , instantly, eager- 
ly. Now and again a white-gloved hand is raised in 
emphasis, while the white left-hand fingers twitch on 
the kepi. Now and again comes a sentence — precipi- 
tate, almost breathless, as if he feared to lose one sec- 
ond of his chance to be heard. Every moment his back 
stiffens, his voice deepens, his hand is raised more ap- 
pealingly, his protestations burst out more fervently. 
It is a man fighting for his life against time. 



The second and third and fourth and fifth days of 
the Dreyfus case were devoted to the study of the 
secret papers bearing on the matter. They had been 
brought from Paris by General Chamoin on behalf of 
the Minister of War. They consisted, as we heard, of 
nearly six hundred documents, dealing with the subject 
more or less relevantly. It seems an enormous collec- 
tion, but you must remember that for several years the 
French War Office has done nothing to speak of except 
collect documents dealing more or less relevantly with 
the Dreyfus case. 

Four days, therefore, the eager journaUst had to 
spend outside the court, for of course the secret dos- 
sier was considered behind closed doors. It was some 
consolation later that everything in it of any moment, 
including confidential cryptograms and names of se- 
cret agents, was cheerfully divulged to the whole 
world. In the meantime some got up at five to see 
Dreyfus march across the street from his prison to 
the court; some frequented the doormats of Demange 
and Labori in the vain hope of an indiscretion ; others, 
less avid of excitement, were content to watch the case 
from the nearest and most agreeable watering-place. 

But everything comes to him who waits, and in due 
time came Saturday, August 12th. We entered the 
hall at 6.29 — the hall of the Lycee had the property 
of everything else in Rennes, that immediately you 
seem to have known it all your life — and awaited the 
first witness. This was a dapper young diplomatist 
called Laroche-Vernet, and his evidence at the mo- 



ment was utterly incomprehensible. It was plainly 
the continuation of the four days' discussion of the se- 
cret dossier, ana it seemed to have to do with a cipher 
telegram from Colonel Panizzardi to his chiefs in 
Rome. It seemed to have been intercepted and de- 
ciphered, and there seemed to have been two versions 
communicated by the French Foreign Office to the 
War Office. The first, a provisional one, ran: — 

"Captain Dreyfus, who has not had relations with Germany, 
is arrested. If he has had no relations with you in Rome send 
official denial. Emissary warned." 

The second, and only official version sent to the War 
Office, substituted for the words "emissary warned" 
the words "to avoid press comment." In the course 
of weeks we saw the importance of this; for the mo- 
ment the great Dreyfus trial seemed to be opening a 
little tamely. 

But next came M. Casimer-Perier. Now we should 
have something! The more sanguine Dreyfusards built 
enormously on the ex-President. He resigned in 1894, 
they said, because he knew that Dreyfus was innocent; 
now he will prove it. M. Casimir-Perier came up — 
the brilliant man who never went wrong, who was a 
distinguished officer at twenty-three, who was Presi- 
dent of the Republic at fifty-four, who is beloved by 
everybody about him — a smallish man, with an open 
candid face, a very long drooping moustache, and an 
extraordinarily broad top to his head. He lifted his 
hand to the cross and swore to tell the truth, the whole 
truth, without hate or fear — then began. His elocu- 
tion was pleasing, his gestures free and attractive, his 
matter — yes; what about his matter? As period rolled 



out after period it began to strike us that M. Casimir- 
Perier was saying nothing about the Dreyfus case at 
all. He had come here not to say what he knew of the 
Dreyfus case, but to complain that he, then Chief of 
the State, knew nothing. The spoiled child of fortune 
had come only to propitiate his wounded self-esteem. 
It suddenly occurred to the more sanguine Dreyfus- 
ards, that if he had been able to prove Dreyfus inno- 
cent he would have done it, without resigning, five 
years ago. 

An hour and a half of giving evidence; total evidence 
given — none. But then came General Mercier. The 
hall thrilled to silence as the neat figure went up to the 
bar and took the oath. Mercier was the real prose- 
cutor of Dreyfus, and at the same time he was really 
on his own defence. It was certain that in sending 
secret documents to the 1894 Court-Martial he had 
brought himself under the criminal law. He could 
save himself by an overwhelming proof of the prison- 
er's guilt, and that was what his partisans were expect- 
ing him to do. 'T will tell all — all," he had repeated 
again and again. He began to speak. Now! 

He spoke and spoke and spoke. He gave evidence 
for three hours and a half and at the end we were not 
a foot more advanced than we were at the beginning. 
Mercier's evidence explained nothing — but Mercier's 
personality suggested whole volumes. He said hardly 
more than Casimir-Perier, and said it a great deal less 
clearly; but the very obscurity hinted at possibilities 
immeasurable. It was characteristic of the man that 
his deposition dealt largely with the cryptic methods 
of the bureau of espionage. And yet, though he re- 
vealed secret after secret with an amazing audacity of 



indiscretion, his revelation was itself so cryptic that we 
knew no more of their bearing after he had discussed 
for an hour than when he began. Mercier's person- 
ality strikes the note of the whole Dreyfus case. Look- 
ing at his back as he gave evidence — tall, straight and 
slim — you could have called him soldierly and sus- 
pected him stupid. On his face and neck the bronzed 
skin hangs loosely. There is neither depth of cranium 
nor height of forehead to hold a brain in. The eyes are 
slits with heavy-curtained lids and bags beneath them 
that turn the drooping cheeks into caverns. A little 
moustache and beard frame thin lips that might be 
evil, sensuous, humorous, but could never be human. 
If you look at his head you think him a vulture; if 
at his face you call him a mummy. He speaks in a 
slow, passionless monotone; his gestures are calcu- 
lated to follow his words instead of proceeding, as a 
Frenchman's should, along with them, on the same im- 
pulse. When he was interrupted by Casimir-Perier he 
persisted in his assertions with the dogged mumble 
of a schoolboy detected in a lie. As he sat and strove 
to wind the toils of treason round the prisoner he 
seemed as unmoved by hate as by pity; he accused 
him dully, as if repeating a lesson. Cold, deliberate, 
tortuous thorough yet ineffective, verbose but not 
candid, battling bravely with native stupidity, truly 
believing himself to be doing God's work, fearless of 
responsibility, untouched by anger or pity, fear or 
hope either for others or for himself — General Mer- 
cier was the very type and mirror of a Jesuit Grand 

He burrowed at once into the dossier. He had held 
no official position since 1896, yet he seemed to have 



copies of all the country's most confidential archives 
in his pocket. The most important documents he read 
by way of proving, first, that there was treachery 
abroad in 1894, and second, that the traitor was Drey- 
fus. First came what they call the ''doubt proof" doc- 
ument^ — the translation of a cipher telegram of De- 
cember 29th, 1893; it was from von Schwartzkoppen 
to his Government. I give it in English, and, as the 
interpretation is doubtful, without punctuation: — 

Doubt proof officer's brevet situation dangerous for me with 
French officer not conduct negotiations personally brings what 
he has absolute * * * [o blank here], bureau des ren- 
seignements [this in French] no relations regiments impor- 
tance only coming from Ministry already somewhere else. 

Schwartzkoppen, explained Mercier, was answering 
a criticism that his secret information bears no guar- 
antee that it comes from the General Staff. He replies 
that he has got, or will get, proof in the spy's officer's 
brevet, that it is better to have no relations with a mere 
regimental officer, but that the only important infor- 
mation is to be had from the Ministry of War. Finally 
he adds that the spy has already worked for Germany 
somewhere else. This last point is interesting, com- 
mented Mercier, because Dreyfus is also accused of 
having betrayed the Malinite and Robin shells when he 
was at the School of Pyrotechnic at Bourges. 

The next document is called ''the Davignon letter;" 
it is from Panizzardi to Schwarzkoppen: — 

I have just written again to Colonel Davignon. If you have 
a chance to speak of the question to your friend, be careful to 
do so in such a way that Davignon shall not know of it. 

This concerned an unimportant question as to re- 
cruiting, but it shows that Schwarzkoppen had a 



friend in the second bureau of the General Staff, and 
that the attaches did not wish Davignon to know it. 
Dreyfus was in the second bureau during the first half- 
year of 1894. 

Next is another letter of about the same date from 
Panizzardi, saying he was about to get the military 
organization of the French railways. Now Dreyfus 
was in the fourth bureau, which dealt with railways, 
during the second half of 1893. 

After that the celebrated "canaille de D — " letter, 
apparently from Schwarzkoppen: 

16 April, 1894. 
My Dear Friend: 

Herewith twelve plans which that cad D gave me for 

you. I told him that I had no intention of resuming relations. 

He said there was a misunderstanding I told him 

he was mad, and that I did not believe you would resume re- 
lations with him. Do what you like. . . . 


It has been said, commented Mercier, that so valu- 
able a spy as Dreyfus would not be called a cad or 
told he was mad. But the higher the position of a spy 
the more he would have been despised by his employ- 
ers, and the more thoroughly they would have him in 
their power. The plans in question were those of Nice, 
which at that moment were being revised in the Gen- 
eral Staff offices. 

Finally were read out reports of verbal communica- 
tions from a secret agent called X , who was ap- 
parently no other than the Spanish Military Attache : — 

March, 1894: "I infer from my last conversation with 
Schwarzkoppen and Panizzardi that they have an ofi&cer in 
the General Staff who informs them admirably." 



April, 1894 : "You have one or several wolves in your sheep- 

June, 1894: "An officer, who is, or was in March, in the 
second bureau of the General Staff is giving information to 
Schwarzkoppen and Panizzardi." 

Mercier had finished with the secret dossier. Now, 
in the same dry, measured monotone, he went on to the 
arrest of Dreyfus, the danger of war with Germany 
which led him to communicate the secret documents 
secretly to the Court-Martial, to Dreyfus's alleged 
confessions, to the examination of the bordereau. He 
insisted especially that this document must have been 
written, not in April, as was contended in 1894, but 
in August. Its final expression — 'T am just starting 
for manoeuvres" — would seem at first sight inapplica- 
ble to Dreyfus, who did not go to the grand manoeu- 
vres of September in that year. But he thought he 
was going, urged the General, until the last moment. 
A rule was made that year that the officers going 
through a course in the General Staff should not go to 
the manoeuvres, but at the date of the bordereau Drey- 
fus did not yet know of this. 

I am free to own that most of General Mercier's 
remarks came into my brain through a drowsy mist. 
I did certainly shake myself when I heard the soothing 
monotone pass from French into English; when Mer- 
cier appeared to be saying "I can't go on all day lis- 
tening to this sort of stuff," I knew I must be dreaming 
and woke up. On the stroke of twelve I was distinct- 
ly aware that he had turned round in his chair and 
was facing Dreyfus. "If I had the least doubt of his 
guilt," said the icy tones, 'T should be the first to 
come to Captain Dreyfus" — it floated into my mind 



that this was almost too cruel even for bloodless Mer- 
cier — "and to say to him I was honestly mistaken." 

God, what was that? What is it? A yell, fierce 
and poignant, the bursting of furious passion tight 
pent up! It ripped the calm to pieces and you half ex- 
pected the hall to split asunder. Dreyfus was up on 
his feet, his body bent double, checked in mid-spring 
by the officer^s gentle hand on his arm, his fist pom- 
melling the air, his head and livid face craned forward 
at Mercier, his teeth bared as thirsty for blood. He 
looked as if he would have leaped upon him like a 
panther, but for the touch on his arm. And the voice! 
"You should say that" were the words — but the voice! 
None of us who heard it will ever describe it — or for- 
get it. Men heard it that night in their sleep. It was 
half shriek, half sob, half despair, half snatching hope, 
half a fire of consuming rage, and half an anguished 
scream for pity. Before us all Dreyfus tore his very 
heart out. He was no corpse. Henceforth all knew 
what he was and what he had endured^ — was still en- 
during. In six words he told us all the story of the 
man from the Devil's Island. 

A shiver, half excitement, half pain, raced through 
every soul in the hall — except one — the Grand In- 
quisitor's. The echoes died away, and we heard the 
monotone, unwarmed, unhastened, 'T should be the 
first to repair my error " — " It is your duty," roared 
Dreyfus, in that same heart-splitting voice. The mono- 
tone went on — '' but I say in all conscience that my 
conviction of his guilt is as firm and unshakeable as 

God, what a m — . No; not a man. 




Mercier was the spirit of darkness ; but there was 
also a spirit of light. Nearest to the audience of the 
four robed figures on the Counsel's Bench was a 
young man of great stature and size. As he sat loosely 
on his chair, hitched his gown up on to his 
shoulders, leaned forward to listen, or heaved him- 
self back to loll, every motion had a vast sweep and 
embodied easy power. When he stood he was a clear 
head above most men in court. His blue eyes looked 
out from under bushy brows — clear, big, honest eyes 
like a dog's. A light brown beard, neither very trim 
nor shapeless, and light brown hair just beginning to 
roll over his brow, tempered strength with a look of 
bluff kindliness. If Mercier was an Inquisitor, this 
sunny-faced giant was a Viking. It was Labori, the 
great cross-examiner. Since he defended Zola he had 
given himself heart and soul to the cause of Dreyfus. 
Perhaps his skill in eliciting reluctant truths was 
piqued at the persistence of a mystery unfathomed; 
certainly his fighting spirit was roused by contumely 
to unsparing hostility. When first he had risen on 
the Saturday to cross-examine, his voice was agree- 
able, yet seemed too soft, too liquid for the man. But 
the moment he approached a point, a distinction, an 
admission, it hardened and rang like steel. In anger, 
you knew, he could roar out of that great chest like 
a bull. If any champion could plunge into the black 
Hades, choke lies and errors and ignorance, and probe 
out the truth, it was surely Labori. 



Saturday had ended with storm in the air. Dreyfus's 
cry had filled all with electricity. At the last moment 
Casimir-Perier demanded to be confronted with Mer- 
cier on Monday. On that came a storm of hoots and 
hisses from the more violent journalists as Mercier 
left the court. On that a savage altercation between 
an officer and a Dreyfusard on the very steps of the 
Lycee, a tumult of Vive I'armee as Mercier passed 
down the street, and three boys groaning A bas les 
Juifs, with five hundred sympathisers looking on. And 
on Monday Labori was to cross-examine Mercier! 
Curiosity was aflare. 

Monday morning broke cloudy with a welcome 
promise of rain. I reached the court punctually at a 
minute to half-past six and was going in. A stamping 
behind me, a heavy rush past — and our esteemed 
President of the Press tore through the line, scattered 
the soldiers of the guard like a bolting horse, leaped 
into the hall, bounded on to a table. "Doctor, come 
quick," he roared, "to a wounded man. It is Labori." 

Half a dozen of us are out in the street again run- 
ning for our lives. I hear panting exclamations all 
about me. ''Labori !" "Two revolver shots V^ Alone 
in the middle of the street pounds a fat little man, his 
fists up to his chest, and talks all to himself: "Assas- 
sin, assassin, assassin!" he exclaims. A couple of 
mounted gendarmes break through the hurrying 
crowd at a sharp trot. 

There is a blackening knot on the canal-bank near 
a little bridge. On the fringe is the head of the Surete 
Publique — a kind of detective political police — who 
enjoys, as his calling demands, the faculty of being 
everywhere at the same time. A group of journalists 



are eagerly questioning a grey old peasant, shovel on 
shoulder; he saw the deed, and now trembles to find 
himself required by the law. I saw a young Jew in tears. 
But most pressed to the centre of the knot, where a 
woman in a black-and-white summer gown was sup- 
porting something on her knee. 

There lay the splendid Labori like a broken tower. 
One instant had wrecked the deep-chested Viking law- 
yer; lying wounded he looked no longer hugely pow- 
erful, but only bulky. A mattress was beside him, but 
he lay on the gravel footpath. His clothes were grimed 
as yellow with dust as if he had worked in it for a long 
day. There was little blood, if any, which seemed 
ominous of inward bleeding, which usually means 
lungs and death. He lay on his side with one arm 
round his wife and his head on her lap, she stroking 
his hair the while. From time to time he rolled the 
wide dog's eyes upvv^ard and said a few words, faint 
but quite composed. 

The assailant was gone out of the town, they said, 
and across country. The wounded man was about to 
be taken back to his house on a stretcher. There was 
nothing more to do but go back to the trial. But it 
was just adjourning after hearing of the crime, and 
in a moment the gravel court of the Lycee was black 
and red and gold with officers and journalists and pub- 
lic, all talking fiercely. Next minute all were rushing 
back into the hall; an eminent novelist was about to 
assault the editor of a leading newspaper. But gen- 
darmes interposed and straightway disarmed every- 
body of every walking-stick and umbrella in the place. 

I saw half a dozen bearded men on the edge of tears. 
As often as anybody came in from outside there was 



a rush: one moment the square was all twos and 
threes, the next it was empty but for one big black 
swarm. The first news said that Labori was spitting 
blood. But presently came the rumor that it was 
little or nothing. The ball, presumably backed only 
with a few grains of bad powder, had apparently 
lodged in the muscle of the back. If that was so, it 
was only a matter of days before we saw him in court 

So now back into court for our sensational morn- 
ing. The President enters amid the usual clatter of 
arms, and says a few appropriate words. It is surpris- 
ing how the very appearance of the little old colonel 
with the big white moustache makes for calm. This is 
only the third day we have seen him; but we have 
never seen him other than cool and impartial, full of 
dignity, tact, and good temper, courteous at all times, 
and firm when he must. The session is resumed. 

And then, alas! we find that we have lost our best 
man. Me. Labori is a fighter, and his cross-examina- 
tion of General Mercier would have been in any case 
a great duel, possibly have thrown light on the case. 
In his absence the devil seems to have gone out of 
everybody. Me. Demange's cross-examination is 
damaging, may be, but it is always heavy. His method 
is to make a short — sometimes not a short — speech 
explaining what he is going to ask, and then to ask 
it. Meanwhile the witness is making up his answer- 
ing speech; and while he is delivering it, Maitre De- 
mange is making up his next speech — and so on for 
ever and ever. 

The famous confrontation of Mercier and Casimir- 
Perier goes oiT just as tamely. This is a famous de- 



vice of P^rench law, to hear two witnesses contradic- 
torily, as they call it. Apparently the idea is that a 
man who told a lie when another man was sitting be- 
hind him will tell the truth when he is standing beside 
him. So the ex-President and the ex-Minister of War 
stand up and make alternate short speeches. You can 
only see their backs^ — the General tall and erect in his 
black tunic and crimson trousers, with his curious 
narrow cropped head; M. Casimir-Perier short, but 
equally erect, in a frock-coat and shepherd's-plaid, 
with his head curiously broad and flat at the top. They 
look like two schoolboys competing for a prize. You 
surmise that the civilian will get it; his intonation is 
clear and his declamation rhythmical, while the soldier 
preserves his passionless monotone. But, as a mat- 
ter of fact, each denies what the other says and admits 

But what is the result of it all? You suddenly wake 
up to the fact that it has nothing whatever to do with 
the case. Whether Dreyfus communicated to a foreign 
Power documents concerning the national defence has 
suddenly become a side issue. The question has be- 
come quite different. In January, 1894, did Mercier 
treat Casimir-Perier cavalierly, and was Casimir-Perier 
right to resign? They cease even to pretend to know 
anything about Dreyfus, and are fighting each in the 
interest of his own self-satisfaction. And President 
and counsel and spectators all seem to think it the 
most natural procedure in the world. 

Then come more witnesses, and you observe with 
amazement that not a single word that any of them 
says can be called evidence. They come in — take the 
oath, sit down if they are not feeling very strong, and 



then sail off into an interminable speech, each on the 
subject of himself — what he did, what he thinks, what 
he heard tell, what he heard somebody say he heard 
somebody else tell. They go on till they stop; then 
somebody asks a question, and they begin all over again 
— like alarm clocks when you think they have run down 
and rashly touch them. 

Here is an example of French methods of evidence. 
The officer who was with Dreyfus on the day of his 
degradation, Captain Lebrun-Renault, has asserted that 
the condemned man made a confession. A confession, 
of course, is evidence everywhere, but everybody knows 
that false confessions of crime are not rare ; therefore, 
in English law even a confession requires confirmation. 
In this case the confession is disputed. 

It is not pretended than anybody else now alive heard 
Dreyfus. Yet almost every witness up to now had 
discussed this alleged confession. First the President 
questioned Dreyfus himself on it. Dreyfus denied it. 
Next M. Casimir-Perier deposed that Captain Lebrun- 
Renault had said nothing about the matter to him. 
Next General Mercier deposed that he told Captain Le- 
brun-Renault to tell M. Casimir-Perier about it. Next 
these two witnesses were heard in contradiction. The 
ex-Minister of War said that General Gonse heard him 
tell the Captain to tell the President ; the ex-President 
said that M. Dupuy Iiad told him that Captain Lebrun- 
Renault did not tell him, Dupuy, that he told him, Casi- 
mir-Perier. M. Cavaignac went into the same inci- 
dent at great length. He said that General Gonse 
wrote to him that Captain Lebrun-Renault told him, 
Gonse, that he, Lebrun-Renault, heard Dreyfus con- 
fess. This jungle of pronouns is what the French seem 



to call evidence. And when you have struggled through 
it you hear that Captain Lebrun-Renault is to be called 
himself to give his own evidence in Dreyfus's presence 
and to be cross-examined upon it ! What a trial. 

The witness of whom most was expected on this 
Monday was M. Cavaignac. Unlike Mercier, Cavaignac 
was at least open and above-board. He is the good 
boy of French politics — a toy Brutus who has lived on 
his reputation for integrity ever since at school he re- 
fused to take his prize from the son of the Emperor 
who imprisoned his father. This profession of honest 
man leads to high eminence in the Chamber of Depu- 
ties — the more so in that Cavaignac has almost a mo- 
nopoly of it. He is the housemaid who sweeps up all 
the scandals of France. When every public man but 
half a dozen had dirtied his fingers in Panama, Ca- 
vaignac was the man to restore public confidence in 
public honesty. When Billot had succeeded Mercier, 
and the Dreyfus case had become worse tangled than 
ever, and the General Staff and the War Office were 
suspect — who but Cavaignac could go to the Min- 
istry of War and vouch for them? To the outsider 
he is a tiresome prig, with his eternal protestations of 
Roman virtue; and he looks it, with his narrow, 
stooping chest, his narrow, pedant^s head, his little 
moustache, and the close-cropped short side-whislcers 
on his cheek bones. But to France it is an obvious 
godsend to have one of her public men who can be 
relied upon to tell the truth. Cavaignac duly went to 
the Ministry of War and announced that Dreyfus was 
guilty. Cavaignac said so; France was reassured at 
once. Presently Cavaignac got up in the Chamber 
and read a letter from one military attache to another 



proving that Dreyfus was a traitor: France had it 
posted up on the walls of every commune in the coun- 
try. And then — one day it was known that the letter 
was a forgery and that its author, the chief stand-by 
of the General Staff in its fight against Dreyfus, was 
in prison with his throat cut. And the mystery was 
that Cavaignac still said Dreyfus was guilty. The 
discovery of Henry^s forgery, whereof he himself ex- 
torted confession and instantly acknowledged it, was 
the strongest confirmation of his famous integrity. But 
this time France doubted. His heart remained unim- 
peachable; only, what about his head? 

Now came Cavaignac into court at Rennes to set 
all doubt to rest. He stood up before the Council of 
War, stretched forth the hand and harangued it as if 
it had been the Chamber of Deputies. Frankly and 
clearly he told them everything. He told everything — 
and he told nothing. Not one single revelation to sat- 
isfy the world of Dreyfus^s guilt — only an argument 
such as any man who knew a little of the French army 
could have made quite as well. It was a good argument 
— clear, cogent, everything except convincing — and to 
the impartial mind it disposed forever of the su- 
perstition that a man could not honestly believe Drey- 
fus guilty. Cavaignac proved that Dreyfus was in an 
exceptionally good position to know all the secrets de- 
tailed in the intercepted covering-letter. Very few offi- 
cers in the French Army are able to betray the in- 
formation that was betrayed; none were more able 
than Dreyfus. To be evidence to hang a man and 
worse, this demonstration, to Anglo-Saxon ideas, 
should have gone further, and shown that none other 
was able to betray these secrets at all. It established 



Cavaignac's good faith and makes it easy to believe in 
other men's; it explained, maybe, why Dreyfus was 
accused. But it did not explain why he was, or ever 
should be, convicted. 

The whole day was a procession of ex-Ministers — 
mostly generals. The first of the series was General 
Billot, a globular general with a very white head and 
moustache, and an expression bearing something of 
the benevolent ferocity of a plump and elderly bull- 
dog. He suggested the harmless terrors of a general 
in a comic opera. He seemed to be saying, "The 
Army's going to the devil, sir ; pass the port V What 
he really did was to give an extended history of the 
Dreyfus case and his own views of it. Next came 
a rosy, brisk, really soldierly soldier — General Zurlin- 
den. He was remarkable in that he stood up to give 
evidence, and in answer to a question he responded 
simply "No" — the first monosyllabic answer of the 
trial. Then a very elderly, white-bearded general — 
Chanoine — who looked like a Non-conformist Mem- 
ber of Parliament appearing in uniform at a Covent 
Garden ball ; nobody knows what, if anything, he said. 
Then M. Hanotaux, who gave a brief lecture on the 
duty of a Foreign Minister. 

The only person who appeared to bear the Dreyfus 
case in mind was Dreyfus. From time to time he made 
protestations in a thick and colourless voice — always 
protestations of innocence. After that one moment's 
explosion, the upheaval of a continent of passion, he 
had ribbed himself in his reserve again. He was again 
the automaton that could speak but one word — inno- 
cent, innocent, innocent ! 




The day on which Me. Labori was shot was an event- 
ful one for me. At the close of the sitting I saw my 
first genuine, unmistakable manifestant. 

The evidence was just over, and the quays along 
both sides of the river were sprinkled with the usual 
motley of gendarmes, journalists, newspaper boys, and 
generals, with here and there a citizen of Rennes. All 
of a sudden I heard, quite distinct and quite close, the 
words, ''A bas la calotte T It means ''Down with the 
tonsure!" — that is to say, with the priests. I whipped 
round and beheld a young working man in mustard- 
coloured clothes, listening, with modest self-satisfac- 
tion, to the echoes of his own exclamation. Others had 
heard, too, for when he moved slowly up the street 
he was followed by about five hundred people. 

For a time he went quietly, and I feared that the 
active manifestation was over for the day. But sud- 
denly a steam tram came snorting and shrieking along 
the opposite quay. When he saw it the manifestant 
became another man. His eyes blazed, his face 
squeezed itself all into the middle ; he turned his head 
towards the tram, and, in a voice choked with fury, 
screamed three times, ''A has la calotte T Then he 
looked back with the same modest pride, and behold, 
five gendarmes were trotting slowly up to clear the 
street ! At that he dived down a byway, and the 
day's manifestation was over. 

Oh, yes, we shall have new dangers to talk over 
when we leave the good town of Rennes ! Assassins ? 



Why, bless you, every other man you meet is one — at 
least, the other side generally call him one, by word 
of mouth or in print, directly or by implication; and 
the other side ought to know. Rennes held many an 
anxious heart on Assumption Day, which followed 
Monday's sitting. The assailant of Me. Labori had 
not been caught, which meant, of course, that he had 
friends and sympathisers, for otherwise he must have 
gone somewhere for food. The theft of Me. Labori's 
letters as he lay on the ground looked like a plot. In 
default of the real criminal somebody at every street 
corner was calling somebody on the other side an as- 
sassin. As you know, it is the favourite word of 
France. When we returned from court that morning 
Jewish ladies were waiting at the doors of the hotel 
to make sure that no assassin had assassinated their 
husbands. They told each other with shaking lips that 
the lower quarters, inflamed by cider — far weaker than 
lager beer — were contemplating a massacre of Jews; 
it was felt that there were too many of them, and that 
they gave themselves airs. They remembered, with 
palpitations, that it was less than a week to the St. 

An eminent novelist went up to an eminent anti- 
Semite and remarked, "Assassin ! Your face dis- 
pleases me. Assassin! I give you five minutes to leave 
this hotel. Assassin!'^ The anti-Semite, who hap- 
pens to be a Jew himself, went to the Prefect and 
asked for protection. "Perfectly,'' replied the high- 
minded official; "it is my duty to protect every law- 
abiding citizen, irrespective of party, race, sex, or 
creed. I shall do my duty." "But," added M. le Prefet, 
"it would be wrong for me to disguise from you that 


my authority stops at the door of your hotel." Then 
*'By the way," he went on pleasantly, ''when do you 
count to leave Rennes?" "To-morrow/^ "Then let 
me advise you, as a man of well known law-abiding 
tendencies, considering the emotion aroused by the 
odious attempt at assassinations of this morning, to — 
to — advance the day of your departure by a day." And 
he did. The novelist, a much bigger man, accom- 
panied him to the door, shouting "Assassin !" on to 
the top of his head ; and Rennes saw that defender of 
the honour of the army no more. 

But August 15th was Assumption Day, and Assump- 
tion Day cleared the air. It was, of course, a holiday ; 
and when next morning we went again to the fa- 
miliar hall of the Lycee, Rennes was its dear, old, 
sleepy self again. When we went in, it had not as yet 
got up ; when we came out it was enjoying its siesta ; 
by the time its siesta was well over it was its dinner- 
time, and then its bed-time. 

No excitement was expected in court, and it turned 
out rather less than was expected. It was in the true 
Rennais spirit that the proceedings opened with a mo- 
tion for adjournment. The idea was to go on with a 
series of forty-eight hour adjournments until Me. La- 
bori could be in court again. But the Court said No, 
and, though the Dreyfusards raged, the Court was 
doubtless right. Certainly Me. Labori's absence did 
cripple the defence, for Me. Demagne as a cross-ex- 
aminer is more ponderous than ponderosity. Still there 
was, so far, no evidence, in an English sense, to cross- 
examine. On the other hand, it was plainly to the pub- 
lic interest — what with plots in Paris and arrests and 
anti-Semites fortifying themselves with revolvers and 



2,000 bottles of St. Galmier water — to bring these ex- 
plosive days to an end. 

Towards this end we made, on the i6th, some ad- 
vance, but not much. The first witness was an ex- 
Minister of Justice, M. Guerin. He was apparently 
called on the principle that any French statesman of 
Cabinet rank — which I reckon to be about seventy- 
five per cent, of them — is entitled, along with his pen- 
sion, to come into court and give his views on the 
Dreyfus case, or on any other subject, preferably him- 
self. Next came M. Andre Lebon, ex-Minister of the 
Colonies, whom they call the torturer of Dreyfus. He 
was a well set-up, capable-looking man, with long, 
drooping, yellow whiskers, and you would call him 
very unlike torturing anybody. He had much to say 
of projects for rescuing Dreyfus, which may or may 
not have existed outside the Gallic imagination and 
he admitted that he had ordered Dreyfus in irons 
while they improved his palisade. He had been a 
brute, no doubt vicariously ; yet he left a clean impres- 
sion behind him. 

By way of pendant to Lebon they read out the of- 
ficial report about Dreyfus on Devil's Island. It was 
formal and colourless, and I think it was the most pa- 
thetic document I ever heard. Up to September, 1896, 
when there was a false alarm of a rescue, Dreyfus was 
treated with comparative mildness. After that he was 
put in irons for forty-four nights, while a double pali- 
sade was built about his cell, which he never left; it 
was so high that he could not look over it at the sea. 
On June 6th, 1897, an English brig appeared off the 
Island and was fired on with blank. At the first sound 
Dreyfus started up, but immediately sank down again 



and lay quite still. His self-control saved his life, for 
the gaoler had orders to shoot him if he tried to es- 
cape. After that they moved him to another hut, also 
completely isolated by a high palisade. It was divided 
by an iron grill into two halves: in one was a warder 
who never took his eyes of¥ Dreyfus day or night. He 
was forbidden to speak to his warder except when 
asking for something. 

Truly heartrending is the dry record of what Drey- 
fus said. On July 2d, 1895, when he had been on the 
Island nearly four months, he was asked how he was. 

"I am well for the moment," he replied. ''It is my 
heart that is sick. Nothing" — and here he broke down 
and wept for a quarter of an hour. On August 15th, 
1895, he said; "Colonel du Paty de Clam promised me, 
before I left France, to make inquiries into the matter; 
I should not have thought that they could take so 
long. I hope that they will soon come to a head." 
They did not come to a head for over four years more ; 
and it was no fault of Colonel du Paty's that they did 
ever. On August 31st he wept on receiving no let- 
ter from his family, and said, "For ten months now I 
have been suffering horrors." Two days later he was 
taken with a sudden burst of sobbing and said, 'Tt 
cannot last long; my heart will end by breaking." He 
always wept when he received his letters. A year 
later he said, 'T can only think with excessive pain in 
the head, and I cannot read m.y wife's letters a second 
time." Most of the days he spent sitting in the shade 
with a book in his hands ; sometimes he was heard to 
sob, and often seen to hide his tears. He begged very 
earnestly to be allowed a medicine case. "For," said he, 
"I am an expiatory victim, and I claim the right to put 



an end to it at my own moment. Sometimes my head 
bursts, my heart spUts, and I fear madness." Alto- 
gether he wrote over a thousand letters in his four 
years — to his wife, his brother, his son, the President, 
the Ministers, General de Boisdeffre — anybody. His 
correspondence and that of his family was so affecting 
that the commandant forbade the warders to read it, 
lest they should relax the rigour of their guard over 

Next, amid emotion — which means that many stood 
on the forms and the rest on the tables, and all 
sh-h-h-ed for silence till the room was like a serpent- 
house — came Mme. Veuve Henry. But emotion was 
wasted. Dressed in deep black, neither tall nor short, 
neither beautiful nor ugly, Mme. Henry was neither an 
avenging fury nor a forgiving angel. The only distin- 
guished feature of her evidence was a curious trick 
of beating time with her thumb. For the rest it had 
to do with, the late Colonel Henry and his wife, as M. 
Guerin^s evidence had to do with M. Guerin and M. 
Lebon's with M. Lebon; but on the question whether 
Drevfus had delivered the documents enumerated in 
the bordereau it had no bearing whatever. 

That was the question which as yet no evidence 
had directly touched. And, what is more, no evidence 
seemed likely to touch it. 

General Roget, the next witness, was an excellent 
example of the methods of the prosecution. He gave 
the impression of very much higher ability than the 
colleagues who had preceded him. Though only two 
or three years above fifty, his hair is grey-white and 
his forehead bare. Short, but broadly built, and of 
elastic carriage, the combination of a large, sloping 



brow, of a white moustache with the waxed ends turn- 
ed towards his ears, and of shoulders held back from 
a slightly protuberant stomach gives the impression 
that he is always leaning backwards, even when he 
stands most upright. It gives him something of the 
bearing of an opera singer, and he has a ready instinct 
for an elegant pose. His voice is pleasant — *'a pretty 
tribune voice," as the local paper put it; he rolls agree- 
ably the r's. His carriage is jaunty, his smile ready, 
his features good, his complexion fresh. He ought to 
produce an attractive, soldierly effect — only somehow 
he does not. The features are good individually, but 
they do not make a good face. Perhaps it is the back- 
ward-pointed moustache that seems to lend him a per- 
petual sneer, perhaps the carriage is a little artificially 
genial; somehow the ears seem unpleasantly promi- 
nent and pointed. General Roget has the air of a white 

He had not been directly concerned with the Drey- 
fus case in its early stages, having made a study of it 
only at the time of the Zola trial. On the strength 
of this study he was appointed Chief of the War 
Minister's Cabinet on July 8th, 1898, and held that of- 
fice under M. Cavaignac and General Zurjinden. 
Therefore he was not in any way tied to defend acts of 
his own; at the same time he owed his promotion to 
his activity in the case and might expect to gain more. 
In both ways he was likely to be the strongest advo- 
cate the prosecution would bring forward. 

He ran quickly up the platform steps and began. 
He had delivered an exhaustive review of the case to 
the Cour de Cassation; but you could recognise the 
advocate in that, instead of repeating it as the others 



did, he began with the question of the hour. He set 
himself to destroy the confessions of Esterhazy — no 
difficult matter, seeing that they mutually destroy each 
other. "Every version is false," he concluded, "and 
yet I should not be the least surprised to see him come 
to this bar before the end of the trial and propound 
another." He then threw ofif a short passage to dis- 
credit Judge Bertulus, who would be the next witness 
and would favour the defence. He touched slightly, 
supplementing Mercier, on the secret dossier. 

He enlarged on the possibility that Dreyfus could 
have got the plans of Nice. Next, he insisted es- 
pecially on the suspicious denials of Dreyfus in 1894 
and at his interrogatory on the first day. Dreyfus, 
urged Roget, neither explained nor discussed. He 
denied knowledge of the plans of concentration, 
though he had drawn maps from memory at the Gen- 
eral Stafif showing particulars for each army. He de- 
nied having seen the firing manual, although Colonel 
Jeannel was ready to swear he had lent him one, and 
he could have admitted this with perfect safety. And 
certainly this was, and is, a strong point against Drey- 
fus. He has denied so much and so mechanically that 
it is hard to acquit him of lying. He may have thought 
he was in a trap, and the less he admitted the better 
chance to get out of it. But how many intelligent men, 
if perfectly honest, would be so short-sighted? 

General Roget had finished his first glass of water, 
and poured out another. Presently, by way of corol- 
lary, he pulled out his handkerchief and began to mop 
his forehead and neck. He was evidently exerting 
himself greatly to talk, to remember, to explain. Now 
he attacked the bordereau, beginning with the note 



on the hydraulic brake of the 120-milUmetre gun. 
This could not mean the old glycerine brake of 1883, 
which everybody knew; it must be the new hydro- 
pneumatic brake, which first enabled a gun of this 
calibre to be used as a field-piece. This was so little 
known that it was generally, though incorrectly, 
spoken of as "hydraulic" even by officers of artillery. 
It was made at Bourges and was being tried between 
1888 and 1891 — a period which included the time 
when Dreyfus was stationed there. Very few officers 
knew the details of it; but it is certain, said General 
Roget, that Dreyfus, by conversation with them and 
by picking up what was going on in the foundry, could 
have got information which gunners would have re- 
fused to an infantry officer like Esterhazy. And he 
added a story showing that in July, 1894, Dreyfus once 
talked with such knowledge and inteUigence at din- 
ner of what was being done at Bourges that General 
de Boisdeft're took him apart after dinner and walked 
with him up and down a bridge over the Mosel for 
an hour. Now the Germans, he concluded, had already 
knowledge of the 120 short gun; so that it would 
be useless sending a special note on the brake unless 
it was something important or very secret. 

Touching lightly on the other points, he came final- 
ly to the firing-manual and carefully analysed the para- 
graph of the bordereau that deals with it. ''This docu- 
ment is extremely difficult to get, and I can only have 
it a very few days" — it was the easiest of the five for 
Esterhazy to get. He could have borrowed it from 
a dozen artillery officers, whereas there is no evidence 
of his having done so; while the other documents he 
could have got only from the General Staff, and that 



on the hydro-pneumatic brake not even thence. On 
the other hand Dreyfus could get the manual, but 
only one of three copies for use among several officers, 
any one of whom might ask for it at any moment. "The 
Minister has sent a definite number for distribution 
among the corps" — anybody but an artillery officer 
would have said ''the artillery corps" or ''regiments." 
"If therefore you wish to take from it what interests 
you. . . " — the process here indicated takes time. Ester- 
hazy would not know he could have the manual till 
he got it, which would involve all the process of writ- 
ing, awaiting an answer, sending the manual, copying 
it, sending it back. It was impossible for Esterhazy 
to have done this between August 5th and 9th, when 
he was attending field-firing at Chalons; Dreyfus for 
his part would await Schwarzkoppen's reply before 
he got the manual at all. 

Thus, strand by strand he laboured to unwind the 
meshes from Esterhazy; knot by knot he toiled to 
tighten them round Dreyfus. He drank more and 
more water, the sweat broke out more and more pro- 
fusely. Roget was working with terrible earnestness 
— working to destroy a life as good men work to save 
one. Mercier, whom the prisoner's exculpation would 
ruin for ever, showed no bitterness; Roget, on whom 
it would bring no shame, sweated hate at every pore. 
He argued carefully, closely, pitilessly; but he did 
more than argue. His words said much, his voice, his 
manner said far more. He accused him of a dozen 
treacheries; he implied a thousand. 

Listening hour by hour, day by day, to testimony 
such as this finished by quite numbing the judgment. 
With every fresji witness the cold mist of doubt set- 



tied thicker and thicker over the whole affair. I came 
to Rennes firmly believing Dreyfus innocent; now I 
no longer knew what I believed. Hour by hour, day 
by day, the hope of certainty receded further into the 
shades. It was all a bafBing mystery, and a mystery 
it seemed likely to remain till the day of judgment. 
Listening to men like Mercier and Cavaignac, it was 
difficulty to believe they were not honest — at any rate, 
at the beginning. Listening to men like Roget — 
though he spoiled his case by his violence — it was idle 
to deny that there were strong presumptions against 
the accused. So there were against Esterhazy — as 
strong perhaps, but not a whit stronger. 

The sense of mystery became an oppression. What 
was it? What did it all mean? Witnesses talked by 
the hour, and when they had done all that remained 
v\^as a floating suspicion that there was something — 
something below that they had left unsaid. Here was 
the great case which for five years had convulsed 
pTance and perplexed the world. In its ultimate effects 
it will probably alter the face of Europe. Some have 
called it the beginning of the end of civilization. And 
there seemed to be nothing certain in it. Every- 
body had promised the whole truth for this final clear- 
ing of the muddle. And then nothing came, nothing 
was known, and still it was impossible to believe that 
there was nothing to know. Everything seemed pos- 
sible. Every wild hypothesis in turn hardened from 
possibility to probability. One hour there had been a 
great plot and a ring of traitors. Dreyfus was in it 
and had been sacrificed to save the others. The next, 
ambitious Dreyfus had really, as he is said to have 
acknowledge, given up trumpery documents in the 



hope, Jew-like, of making a personal success by bring- 
ing to the Intelligence Department some great secret 
of Germany. Presently Esterhazy was telling the 
truth; he had written the letter to Schwarzkoppen, 
which never went, so as to implicate Dreyfus, innocent 
or guilty. Anon, Dreyfus, having been shunned and 
tabooed by his brother officers, had rushed to his 
revenge in treason. Any supposition was admissible 
— and half of them, even if admitted, brought us no 
nearer a clear knowledge of Dreyfus's guilt or inno- 
cence. Even though military attaches and ambassa- 
dors came and lifted their hands to the Christ and 
swore, France would never trust their testimony on 
such a question. The case of Dreyfus seemed hidden 
from human knowledge — a secret to be unwrapped only 
before the Great White Throne. 

In the meantime only one thing was clear, and grew 
clearer every day; innocent or guilty, traitor or vic- 
tim, Dreyfus was a man. 

The first day so stiff and jerky, like a galvanized 
corpse, now he moved in and out of the court more 
elastically,and his gestures when speaking were neither 
clumsy nor theatrical. The first day his voice was 
cavernous, now, though still harsh and a little snarling, 
it was full of volume and strength. The second day 
General Mercier baited him out of his self-control; 
now he sat all day rigid and intent, and heard man 
after man call him traitor without a challenge. The 
long waves of accusation came lapping over him, im- 
possible to deny, yet more impossible to disprove. La- 
bori was gone, and Demange inactive; yet Dreyfus 

I believe he was the only Frenchman in court — he to 



whom it meant new life or hell again — who followed 
the evidence with a just appreciation of its value. When 
they asked what he had to say to M. Lebon, he re- 
plied, "I am here to defend my honour and my chil- 
dren's. I shall not speak again of what happened on 
Devil's Island." He listened to the awful narrative of 
his torments — the more awful for the precise coldness 
of the official language — damp-eyed but unflinching. 

Finally came General Roget, raking him for two 
hours and a half with insult and insinuation. Taking 
his hint from Mercier's apostrophe and the outburst 
that followed, Roget turned and spat the last part of 
his accusation full into Dreyfus's face. He faced tow- 
ards Dreyfus, pointed at him, underlined each damn- 
ing innuendo. A turn of the screw — another — a pause 
— gently, very gently, another — a slackening of the 
screw — ah ! a sharp wrench. 

Dreyfus never swerved. At the end, when his turn 
came, he rose, and from the fury vibrating in his voice 
you could tell how hard he had been holding the blood 
still in his heart. But what he said was exactly what 
every Anglo-Saxon in the court had been thinking all 
day long. "All these days," he cried, "I have been 
listening to speeches for the prosecution. I cannot 
defend myself." And then, as always, ''innocent." 

He was still the dead man half alive, but at least 
he was becoming used to his semi-life and command- 
ed himself. Yet these days of unanswered accusation 
were an ordeal and Dreyfus himself was unearthly. At 
times he seemed to be petrifying back to living death 
again. In every look at the hall, in every photograph, 
though the place was full of fine heads, the grey-white 
clay-white Dreyfus was the only thing you saw. The 



harsh profile with the strong forehead and nose, with 
the bar of black moustache cutting it like the empty 
grin of a Death's-head, the long, gaunt jaw and for- 
ward thrusting chin, the naked cranium, half bald, 
half cropped — it all looked grotesquely like an illustra- 
tion in a phrenologist's shop window. Or, again, if 
you saw his whole body, the thick shape pressed close- 
ly into the chair, the knees close together and the feet 
together, bending backwards, reminded you of an an- 
cient Egyptian statue. That, and the smooth, Oriental 
skull, the stern, moveless, Oriental mask — he might 
just have come to life after sitting entombed through 
centuries in stone before a temple of Thebes or Nine- 
vah. A mummied image of Chaldsea, the forgotten 
god of a lost people — anything but a living man of 
the year of our Lord 1899. 



The Court had just undergone a severe course of a 
gentleman named Bertulus. He is a Juge dTnstruc- 
tion, who has accidentally, in the course of his func- 
tions in Paris, got himself enmeshed in the Dreyfus 
case. A brisk, good-looking little man, with bright 
black eyes and an enormous black moustache, he 
went up to the bar and began to wave his arms wildly 
in all directions. You would have said he was an opera- 
singer practising before a pier-glass — only not a single 
word came. However, the President appeared to be 
looking at him intently, and presently the prosecut- 
ing commissary was struck by a doubt. Inquiry hard- 
ened suspicion into certainly: M. Bertulus had been 
giving evidence for some time, and nobody but the 
President and the two nearest judges knew it. He was 
asked to begin again, and did so; he, also, continued 
at great length. 

At the end he was confronted with Mme. Henry^ — 
solely that the lady, with outstretched thumb, might 
call him Judas. It is not a woman speaking, she said: 
it is the voice of Colonel Henry. It was exactly like 
a scene out of an Italian opera. 

After that depressing experience, composedly 
slouching up to the bar in an ill-fitting morning coat, 
came Picquart. To the Dreyfusard Picquart is the 
hero of the piece; to seven French officers he is a 
very suspicious character. "His enemies," said a jour- 
nalist from Paris to me — "even his enemies have never 
dared impute any other motive to him than love of 
truth and justice." Two minutes later I heard one 



of his enemies declare that he took up the innocence of 
Dreyfus solely to ruin Du Paty de Clam, with whom, 
for reasons utterly unprintable, he was at bitter enmity. 
To the Court, at any rate, Picquart is the man who 
has set his face like a flint against his superior offi- 
cers, and spent months in prison for trying to prove 
them either knaves or fools. 

Until he ran his head upon the Dreyfus case three 
years ago Picquart was almost the most promising 
soldier in France. An Alsatian from Strasburg, he 
had seen service in Tunis and Tongking; he was major 
at thirty-two and lieutenant-colonel at forty. He had 
spent most of his home service at the Ecole de Guerre 
or on the General Stafif. He knows English, German, 
Austrian, Italian and Spanish — an accomplishment al- 
most supernatural in a Frenchman. He had enjoyed 
the high esteem of his chiefs ; there was nothing in the 
French Army to which he might not reasonably aspire. 
But now he came before the Court after spending ten 
out of the last thirteen months in a secret prison. 
Neither as the enemy of generals nor as the successful 
staff officer was he likely to be popular with seven regi- 
mental officers ; younger than any member of the Coun- 
cil, he was actually senior in the service to all but two. 

His demeanour was not at all conciliatory. He ap- 
proached with absolute calm on a face that bears no 
sign of passion either for good or evil : he looks — and 
looks as if he knows he looks — the embodiment of pure 
reason. He settled himself very carefully and lengthilv 
on the witness's chair, got his shoulder-blades com- 
fortably into the back, crossed his leg over his knee, and 
pulled down his trousers over his boot. Then he poured 
out a glass of water and laid both hands firmly on the 



table before him. He suggested that, while far from 
wishing to swagger, he knew he was master of the 
situation. When he began to speak there was neither 
the ease of conversation nor the rhythm of declama- 
tion. You remember that he had been a professor at 
the Ecole de Guerre. It was a lecture, pure and sim- 
ple; and the first word was as distinct and clear-cut 
as the last. His whole demeanour said, "Now, gen- 
tlemen, I must ask vou to listen to me. I shall take 
some time; but, if you will only listen, you have now 
the chance of your lives to understand the Dreyfus 

And then, without hesitation or confusion, Colonel 
Picquart explained the Dreyfus case for seven hours 
and a half. It was a masterpiece of reasoning — the in- 
tellectual triumph of the trial. I should strongly ad- 
vise the French War Office to make its peace with 
Colonel Picquart, for he has a better head than all the 
generals put together. He went over the whole ground, 
from the secret documents to the latest fancies of Es- 
terhazy, and seemed the only man who knew every foot 
of it. He knew the offices of the General Staff like 
his pocket — where every document was kept, where 
everybody worked, what everybody's work was, what 
he was in a position to know and what he was not. 
He had seen every stage of the Dreyfus case, and could 
recite from memory almost every cryptogram of the 
secret dossier. Yet, with his innumerable digressions 
and parentheses, though he threw out hints for the 
elucidation of puzzle after puzzle on the spur of the 
moment, he never entangled himself in details. Al- 
ways he returned to the main argument, at the point 
where he left it. He touched every point and brought 



it into its due relation with his whole theory. He 
saw the nature and bearing of every fact by the dry, 
white light of pure reason. This was a man in some 
sort like Mercier — a man for whom hate or love, an- 
ger or hope or fear, could never colour what seemed 
right. Only this was a man with a brain — a brain like 
a swift, well-oiled machine, every wheel running easily 
in its place, every nut and bolt doing its due share of 
work, no more and no less. To the nodding stranger 
Picquart was a revelation; here at last, you cried, is a 
man with a clear head. It was a speech for the defence, 
of course, not evidence; but it was the speech of a 
supremely gifted intelligence. The whole Dreyfus 
case was unreeled like a proposition of Euclid. 

And not only the Dreyfus case, either. So far, you 
will have observed, we had been trying two cases; 
they now became four. The Dreyfus case led in the 
Esterhazy case; and now in turn the Esterhazy case 
led in the Picquart case. Esterhazy was accused to 
prove Dreyfus innocent; Picquart was accused in turn 
to prove Esterhazy innocent again and Dreyfus again 
guilty; finally Henry was accused to prove Picquart 
honest, Esterhazy doubly guilty, and Dreyfus trebly 
wronged. General Roget had initiated us the day 
before into these first two branching alleys of the trial. 
Bertulus had followed him and had introduced the 
fourth element — the Henry case. 

Picquart began with Dreyfus. He described the 
flutter caused by the arrival of the bordereau, the in- 
vestigation, the identification, Du Paty de Clam's dic- 
tation scene, the trial, the alleged confession — all from 
the point of view of an eye-witness. For himself, he 
had thought the handwriting of the bordereau akin to 



Dreyfus's, but could not say it was the same. He had 
seen the lines that Dreyfus had written at Du Paty's 
dictation, and to his eye they showed no tremulous- 
ness. Going on to the bordereau, he argued that there 
was no proof that the information it invoiced was of 
any importance. If it had been, then the author would 
have said so, to enhance his price. If Dreyfus knew of 
the Madagascar plan of campaign, then he knew more 
than Picquart, who was then his chief. As for the fir- 
ing-manual, it was not a confidential document, and al- 
most anybody could have got it. It may be answered, 
by the way, to this that Dreyfus, being on the General 
Staff, would have no need to cry up his wares — they 
were bound to be precious. But Picquart here, none 
the less, put his unerring finger on the weak spot of the 
generaPs case. They all assumed that the information 
betrayed was of the first importance. What evidence 
was there for that assumption? None in the bor- 
dereau. Except that it was necessary to implicate 
Dreyfus, there was no reason for it in the world. 

That finished August 17th. Next day Picquart — 
still in the same absolutely lucid, absolutely dispassion- 
ate, absolutely reasonable style^ — plunged into the se- 
cret dossier. He had known it when he was head of 
the Intelligence Department, nearly three years ago; 
now he had to deal with it from memory. In the 
Dreyfus dossier of his time, he said, there were three 
documents of primary importance. The first was the 
document ''Doubt, proofs," of which the text has been 
given already. Picquart's interpretation was of course 
diametrically opposed to Mercier's. As he read it, 
Schwarzkoppen said, "I doubt ; the proof (of my cor- 
respondent's genuineness) is his officer^s brevet. It is 



dangerous for me to deal with a French officer, and I 
cannot personally conduct negotiations. He brings 
what he has/* Here in the original German is abso- 
lute ge — , then a blank, and then, in French, bureau 
de renseignements. About half the words in the Ger- 
man language begin with ge — . Du Paty made it 
gezvalt and translated 'T fear the absolute power of 
the Intelligence Department/* Picquart made it ge- 
wissheit and translated 'Tt is absolutely certain he 
is in relations with the Intelligence Department/* 
Then he went on, "His information has no relation 
with regimental matters, and is important as coming 
from the Ministry/* Which meant, summarily, that 
the telegram did not refer to Dreyfus, but to Esterhazy 
in conjunction with Henry. 

Next he boarded the Davignon letter; Picquart 
concluded that its terms are so unconstrained that 
"your friend" can hardly apply to a spy. Would 
Panizzardi simply say, "Take care Davignon does 
not know/* if it were such a deadly matter as 
treason on the General Staff? Third came the 

"Canaille de D ** letter about the plans of Nice. 

But if Dreyfus betrayed these plans, said Picquart, 
where did he get them from? In two offices where 
plans are kept search was made and nothing had been 
lost. It was possible, urged the prosecution, that 
there may have been such plans in the ist Bureau of 
the General Stafif. Possible; but were there, asked 
Picquart, as a matter of fact, any plans missed from 
that Bureau? There is no record of any such thing. 
After the Dreyfus trial, he concluded, it became the 
habit of the General Staff and Intelligence Depart- 
ment to put down any treason that came out to Drey- 



fus, evidence or not. Dreyfus accounted for every- 
thing, and any swindler who wanted a couple of hun- 
dred francs brought in a new betrayal by Dreyfus. 
Whereas when, after Dreyfus's condemnation, a docu- 
ment found its way out of the ist Bureau, and Pic- 
quart had to inquire into the leakage, he was merely 
told that it had passed through so many hands it was 
impossible to say. So little did anybody care for trea- 
son into which it was impossible to drag Dreyfus. 

Here Picquart left the Dreyfus case and proceeded 
down the branching alley to Esterhazy, and himself, 
and Henry, and Du Paty de Clam. He went on in 
the same calm, luminous style, and you would never 
have known, from any change in voice or manner, 
when he was speaking of his enemies or when of him- 
self. It was plain enough, going by the substance 
of what he said, that Du Paty was his personal foe, 
that he hated him. But it was a curious contrast that 
whereas, the day before. General Roget had perspired 
with his virulence against a man he had hardly seen, 
this cool and balanced intelligence delivered his damn- 
ing charges against the enemy of his life in exactly the 
same way as he would have delivered a lecture on the 
formation of infantry for the attack. 

It is not necessary to follow him into the details 
of what happened after he became head of the Intel- 
ligence Department. The grounds of his charges 
against Esterhazy have been related in Chapter I.; 
so have the stories of the veiled lady and the forged 
telegrams sent to Tunis. Picquart's part in all this 
branch of the case was double; on the defensive he 
had to clear himself from the charge of having used 
unjustifiable machinations to prove the guilt of Es- 



terhazy; on the offensive he strove to establish a con- 
spiracy between Esterhazy, Henry, Major Lauth of 
the Intelligence Department, and General Gonse, to 
discredit his discoveries and himself. 

He denied utterly that he began to shadow Ester- 
hazy before his suspicions were awakened by the ex- 
press letter-card (petit bleu) from the German Em- 
bassy, or even heard of him till then. He put in a 
very smart counter-attack. There was, he said, in a 
collection of documents got together against him a 
newspaper cutting mentioning Esterhazy. Henry had 
dated this January 5, 1896 — before the arrival of the 
letter-card; but when it came to be verified, behold the 
true date was January 5, 1897. "You notice the 
fraud," was all the quiet Picquart said: Henry had 
made another forgery with a view to show that Pic- 
quart had had Esterhazy in his eye as a victim be- 
fore he began to gather evidence against him. As for 
the charge of forging the letter-card, it was simple to 
rebut it. At the time when he received a forged tele- 
gram in Tunis — "They know that George is the au- 
thor /of the letter-card. Blanch" — it mysteriously 
came about that the name of Esterhazy in the address 
of this card was scratched out and the same name, Es- 
terhazy, written above the scratching. The sugges- 
tion was, of course, that Picquart had altered the name 
to implicate Esterhazy — only, unluckily, the address 
was left intact, the card had been photographed with- 
out any scratches when it first arrived, and the scratch- 
ing had been done so clumsily that experts had de- 
tected the original "Esterhazy" under the forged one. 

In attacking, Picquart had plenty of weapons to 
his hand. Gonse had tried to persuade him to hush 



up the case against Esterhazy for fear of re-opening 
the Dreyfus case. So in his blunt and not unkindly 
way had Henry. "When I was in the Zouaves," par- 
abled that burly ranker, "a private, the son of a colo- 
nel, committed a theft. His captain wished to prose- 
cute, the higher officers did not. The captain was 
broke, and the thief remained." Against Du Paty 
he asserted — what Esterhazy admitted also — that the 
veiled lady was Du Paty himself in a false beard and 
blue goggles. Against Lauth he had the presumption 
that he doctored the letter-card. Against Lauth, Henry, 
and Esterhazy together he produced, following Judge 
Bertulus, a very black story. There was a German 
secret agent called Richard Cuers, who told a French 
secret agent, one Lajoux, that he wished to work for 
the French Intelligence Department. Picquart sent 
Lauth and a commissary named Thoms to interview 
him at Basle, and at the last moment Henry, who 
spoke no German, induced Picquart to let him go, 
too. They came back and reported that it was impos- 
sible to get Cuers to say a word. Later Cuers met 
Lajoux, and said, "What do they mean by sending 
this red-faced man who bullied me and would not let 
me speak?" He had said also to Lajoux — and pre- 
sumably repeated it to Henry and Lauth — that Drey- 
ful had betrayed nothing to Germany; but that, on 
the other hand, a decorated major, between forty and 
fifty, had sold documents on artillery, but had been 
dismissed because his information was worthless and 
palpably wrong. Thus Picquart discounted the evi- 
dence that Esterhazy knew nothing about artillery. 
Finally, and here was the blackest part, when Bertulus 
searched Esterhazy's lodgings a letter was found 



marked "Basle R. C," which letter when Henry saw 
in the judge's room, he collapsed with every sign of 
guilty consternation. Esterhazy, argued Picquart, 
was that decorated major who betrayed incorrect in- 
formation on artillery, and Henry was his accomplice. 

Thus, with a thousand other points too long for 
mention, Picquart straightened out and wove together 
again the whole tangle of the case. Always with the 
same pellucid intonation, with the same grasp and 
logic, with the same air of candour and moderation. 
Everything he said was without rancour, without prej- 
udice — a sincere opinion open to argument. A few of 
his minor points were inaccurate, and the correction 
of some was uncontradicted by him all through the 
trial. But a man who pleaded for his life as if it 
were an interesting mathematical theorem — it wanted 
either more bias or more knowledge than I command- 
ed to call that man a liar. 

He came down glowing with a sort of placid tri- 
umph in the clearness of his own head. The case, 
which day by day had been growing blacker and 
blacker against Dreyfus, was on a level again. And 
Dreyfus, who had been growing whiter and whiter, 
was once more a living man. 



After Picquart the interest of the case fell down 
badly, and showed no signs of getting up again. On 
the 19th we had the anti-Dreyfusard, anti-Picquart, 
in Major Cuignet, an officer with a big, fair moustache, 
pale, thin cheeks, vast ears, and the general air of 
an intelligent artisan. He had been commissioned by 
M. Cavaignac to classify the Dreyfus papers, and in 
so doing had discovered Henry's forgery. This was 
his title to fame, but to-day he cut that subject alto- 
gether. Cuignet had been put up — it was just like the 
unjudicial judicature of the Dreyfus case^ — to answer 
Picquart, just as in the House of Commons you might 
put up a Harcourt after a Chamberlain. For the rest, 
he said nothing new and left a nasty flavour in every- 
body's mouth. He seemed a little parasite that spent 
his time on the Staff running errands for the generals 
and would say exactly what the generals would like 
him to say. 

Next came General de Boisdeffre, a very different 
figure — the gentleman of the trial. He was tall, and 
perhaps a little old for his sixty years, his head was 
both grey and bald, his moustache and tuft of beard 
grey, too, his features well cut, fine, and distinguished. 
His voice was somewhat gusty, as if age were attack- 
ing him there also, yet distinct, and had a mellow 
pleasantness after the sharp, hard ring of most of the 
witnesses. He spoke with politeness of his opponents, 
with warm affection of his friends, and of himself — 
who guaranteed the Henry forgery and then resigned 
— with a rather sad dignity. After him came his late 



second in command on the General Staff — General 
Gonse, a tubby, short-legged double of Napoleon III. 
He was less attractive. He was on his own defence 
all the time instead of on the attack of Dreyfus, and 
pulled at his Napoleonic beard nervously. Both De 
Boisdeffre and Gonse have much to answer for, if 
Dreyfusards tell the truth. The impression on my mind 
was that whenever anybody brought General de Bois- 
deffre a troublesome point about the Dreyfus case, he 
used to say, very politely and kindly. *T think you 
had better see General Gonse about it." That was 
probably weak; but I am much deceived if De Bois- 
deffre is not an honourable, as he is a courtly gentle- 
man. But it was hard to see why either he or Gonse 
was there except that no Dreyfus trial would be com- 
plete without them. 

Monday also gave us little enough in the way of the 
Dreyfus case, but there were some interesting person- 
ages. General Fabre and Colonel d'Aboville were 
the first, but they were out of place; they really her- 
alded the cloud of witnesses that were to come on the 
following days to depose on Dreyfus's demeanour in 
the offices of the General Staff. After them — for no 
apparent reason except that it would be a pity to leave 
a picturesque figure out of the Dreyfus case — came 
M. Cochefert, Chef de la Surete, the great detective of 
contemporary France. Nobody in the world can ever 
have looked less like a detective; he is the sort of 
man who would have sat down with a criminal in a 
cafe and had confidences forced upon him before 
the second absinthe. He wears a frock-coat down 
to his heels, as if he had had a section cut out of 
his legs. His face is a blend of Bismarck and 



a fat mastiff; as he sits in the cafe with a tall 
hat on the back of his head and his jolly paunch be- 
tween his knees, you would put him down as a thrifty 
cabman from Auvergne who has saved money and 
now has a growler or two of his own. With regard to 
the Dreyfus case, he was present at Du Paty's dicta- 
tion scene and the arrest; at the moment of the ar- 
rest he was convinced, as is the duty of a good French 
detective, of the prisoner's guilt. But the prosecution 
took little out of Cochefert, after all; for he wound 
up that if he had then known the bordereau and the 
handwriting of Esterhazy, he would have felt 
it his duty as an honest man to go to the Min- 
ister and call his attention to the similarity between 

The next witness was Gribelin, the archivist of the 
Intelligence Department. You must understand that 
when Picquart was head of that service his subordi- 
nates were Henry, Major Lauth, Captain Junck, and 
Gribelin; and they were all against him on the Drey- 
fus-Esterhazy question. To-day the three last were to 
appear, so that of the Picquart, if not of the Dreyfus, 
case it was an important crisis. Gribelin is a man of 
middle size with the air of a promoted sergeant, which 
I suppose is what he is. As he gave his evidence he 
rubbed his thumb and forefinger continually across 
his throat — thinking, perhaps, of his mentor, the late 
Colonel Henry. A man of his class being employed to 
lock up secret documents in boxes would be quite sure 
to become saturated with secret-service all through, 
and so Gribelin was. He was more diplomatic than 
the diplomatists. A military attache said something; 
that was quite enough to convince the astute Gribelin 



of the opposite. Dreyfus said he was innocent; that 
proved to GribeUn that he was guilty. 

After GribeHn came Lauth and Junck — men of a 
very different stamp. They were by far the best wit- 
nesses the prosecution had yet had — the best witnesses 
anybody could wish to have. Fully half of the mili- 
tary witnesses seen hitherto had been poorly made 
men — podgy, herring-gutted, slouching; both Lauth 
and Junck were models of soldiers. Lauth was the 
dragoon — black tunic with white collar and cuffs, 
baggy red trousers; he moved with the elastic swing of 
a horseman; stood while he gave evidence with legs 
crossed, leaning easily forward towards the judges; 
to look at his limber back you would have said that 
he was twenty instead of forty-one. In face he was 
tanned, with a brown moustache and a heavy jaw 
and chin ; with his monocle you might have taken him 
for an English guardsman. Junck was bigger and 
beautifully built — straight as a cleaning rod and long 
as a lance. He wore a huge moustache framed in a 
square face that bespoke sense and resolution. 

Their manner of giving evidence was altogether ad- 
mirable. Both these Alsatians, knowing German as 
completely as French, had been in the Intelligence 
Department and understood every detail of its work. 
Neither dissipated himself on a review of the whole 
case. Lauth spoke on the production of the bor- 
dereau, Junck on his intercourse with Dreyfus, whose 
contemporary he was; both on what passed in the 
Intelligence Department under Picquart. Lauth was, 
perhaps, the more spirited of the two, but Junck^s slow, 
clear, unimpassioned style was equalled only by Pic- 



Both were quite distinct and quite positive. Both 
knew what they were talking about, and showed what 
they knew with a weahh of corroborative detail. They 
told how the furniture was placed, where Picquart 
sat, where they stood; after that how could you dis- 
believe them when they went on to tell you what 
each said? They were so quaintly humorous that you 
could not suspect them of malice. They were so frank 
in giving points to the other side that you would not 
suspect them of bias. The general efifect of their evi- 
dence was that you could not believe a word that Pic- 
quart said. 

It was the most curious problem in life, and the 
most baffling. Here were the three Alsatians^ — Pic- 
quart, Lauth, and Junck, all equally positive, all equal- 
ly lucid, all equally convincing — and either the first 
or the other two must be deliberately and elaborately 
lying. Only which? Of course the anti-Dreyfusards 
said Picquart, and the Dreyfusards said Lauth and 
Junck. But for the man who merely wanted to find 
out the truth it was blankly hopeless. True, there 
were two of Lauth and Junck against one of Picquart; 
on the other hand, it would probably pay twice as 
well to be on Lauth's and Junck's side as it would 
to be on Picquart's. If Picquart or Junck be false — 
and one or other must be — what do you think of men 
who face their fellows on the most important issue 
of France's recent history, and in plain, temperate, 
carefully selected language, without a hesitation, a 
slip, a discrepancy, a second of confusion, lie steadily 
for hours? If Lauth be false, what of a man — it con- 
stantly happened in the subsequent days — who at ev- 
ery turn of the case, at every crisis, when Labori was 



flashing his searchHght, when the witness was silent 
and the judges were suspicious, and the generals lost 
their heads, who flung up his hand with "I ask to be 
heard," and, standing up on the platform, told, in sim- 
ple, unaffected language, the right lie in the right 
place. You could never put him down, you could never 
take him wrong. Cool, ready, resolute, if Major 
Lauth was lying he is the master liar of the world; 
and if he is not, Picquart is. Only at the end, I must 
regretfully add, Lauth mixed his whole artistic display. 
He alleged that on the day of the Czar^s great fete in 
Paris Picquart brought his mistress to lunch with the 
wives of his subordinates. He added information 
which enabled most people in court to identify the lady. 
This ungentlemanly burst of spite annihilated all his 
days of self-restraint. I am not sure but Junck was 
the best liar after all. 

Well, I suppose we shall all see through the Drey- 
fus case on the Day of Judgment; meanwhile I, for 
one, give it up. But I ask you to give your attention 
for a moment to the extraordinary prominence of 
Alsatians in this trial that involves France. Dreyfus 
has less achieved his greatness than had it thrust upon 
him; yet Dreyfus is certainly a man capable beyond 
the average of France. Dreyfus, Picquart, Lauth, and 
Junck were the clearest-headed men in the place — 
all Alsatians. Freystaetter — whom you will meet later 
— the fighting soldier, the only quite honest man in 
the place — is an Alsatian. Zurlinden, the most sol- 
dierly of the generals, Bertin-Haurot, the most soldier- 
ly of the witnesses — both Alsatians. Colonel Sand- 
herr, whose secret agent brought in the bordereau, 
and M. Sheurer-Kestner, whose action led to its first 



public attribution to Esterhazy — both Alsatians. Gen- 
eral Mercier, who headed the prosecution, and Ma- 
thieu Dreyfus, who engineered the defence — both were 
brought up in Alsace. 

I wonder what will happen to France next genera- 
tion when there are no more Alsatians left? They 
will all be Germans then, and whatever will the poor 
Frenchmen do? They will have to close the Intelli- 
gence Department of the War Office, for one certain- 
ty; for an Alsatian seems the only Frenchman capable 
of knowing German. He seems, also, the only man 
in France who can keep a cool head and stick to a 
point. What will she do when that backbone of Teu- 
tonic stability is withdrawn? As they say in the news- 
papers — poor France ! 



You will say I am trying to shirk the historian's 
duty, but my first duty, as they said daily before the 
Court-Martial, is to tell the truth. The truth is that 
at this stage the Dreyfus case, the world-shaking, 
heart-tearing Dreyfus case, was becoming a bore. 

Most fair-minded observers had given up all hope 
of arriving at the complete and certain truth. The 
enormous range and complexity of the case — a range 
of five years and a complexity involving perpetual con- 
tradictions between men who both ought to know, 
perpetual appeals to witnesses who did not, and ap- 
parently did not propose to, appear, rival interpre- 
tations of cryptograms in German cipher, the text of 
which we never saw, and the unceasing doubt that 
any given document might turn out at any moment to 
be a forgery, had melted all our brains to jelly. I take 
the case of the Schneider — dare I call it forgery? — 
letter. General Mercier quoted in his evidence a let- 
ter from Colonel Schneider, the Austrian Military At- 
tache in Paris. In it the writer said he still believed 
— ^this was dated November 30, 1897 — that Dreyfus 
had had relations with the German secret espionage 
offices at Strasburg and Brussels. To the EngHsh 
mind Colonel Schneider's belief seemed to have little 
enough to do with the case; but General Roget said 
he considered it the most damning document in the 
whole secret dossier. Almost at the same moment ar- 
rived a telegram from Colonel Schneider, who was 
staying at Ems, denouncing the letter as a forgery. 
The Austro-Hungarian Charge d'Afifaires in Paris 



confirmed the disclaimer. Major Cuignet, in his evi- 
dence, threw doubt on the denial. On the top of that 
came a letter from Schneider, saying that the date at- 
tributed to the letter must be false, for in November, 
1897, he took the diametrically opposite view of Drey- 
fus's guilt; but the text itself he must examine before 
he could say whether it was from his hand or not. 

Later on there rose up a rumour that Mercier, at 
the last moment, was going to produce a photograph 
of the original bordereau — of which the document be- 
fore the Court was but a copy, made either by Ester- 
hazy or somebody else. This photograph, they said, 
had been made while the original was coming back 
from Berlin to Paris — for lo! it was annotated in the 
German Emperor's own hand, and bore the super- 
scription. "Return to Captain Dreyfus for further 
details!" What could you make of a case when the 
documents — the indubitable black and white docu- 
ments — were such fleeting wraiths as these? 

The Frenchman and the foreign partisans had no 
such symptoms; to them everything on their side was 
crushing, everything on the other flimsy. ''Every 
day," said the Intransigeant, "fresh proofs are remorse- 
lessly piled up against the traitor." "Every day," said 
the Aiirore, "demonstrates more fully the deplorable 
weakness of the enemies of truth and justice." I met 
one Frenchman — and only one — impartial enough to 
admit that he was partial. 

Said he: "Suppose you had discovered that there 
was treachery in your Navy, which is your all, as our 
Army is ours. And suppose that for five years you 
saw your admirals maintaining one side of the question 
and your little Englanders the other. Which side 



would you be on?" I had only one reply; if I were 
a Frenchman I should have been an anti-Dreyfusard. 
In England I should trust the admirals. But what 
should I do when, after I had trusted the admirals 
five years, the admirals came forward to give me the 
materials to form my own judgment, and gave me the 
same sort of materials as the French generals are 
giving in the Dreyfus case? If the evidence had been 
given at once, I should have said that it looked bad, 
perhaps, but was not enough to hang a dog on. But 
after five years of bitter faction? It is not so easy 
to resume the judicial mind in a day. I declare it is 
an outrage to ask a Frenchman to be impartial. 

For the members of the Court-Martial the test was 
as cruel a one as any man could undergo. If you took 
seven Frenchmen from the street they would have 
made up their minds before they so much as saw the 
prisoner; Dreyfus would have been condemned, on 
a fair average, by five to two or six to one. But these 
seven officers, in addition to the prejudgment of years, 
found superior officer after superior officer — the men 
whom it is their military duty to trust and follow — 
coming before them and pleading all on one side. 
Whatever they decided, they were sure to be the butts 
of the bitterest hostility for the remainder of their lives. 
Even though the evidence were abundant, irrefutable, 
and all on one side, their position would have been 
difficult enough. It was turning out scanty, doubtful, 
and ambiguous. The result was that whatever decis- 
ion they gave would be ascribed, not to an honest 
estimate of the weight of the evidence, but to motives 
of which professional interest or political prejudice 
was the least discreditable. I take it that every one 



of the seven would sooner have faced a park of Ger- 
man artillery at a thousand yards than sat on the Drey- 
fus Court-Martial. 

Considering this, when I read in English papers 
that the Court is showing signs of partiality, my blood 
boiled. If it had been true, it had been better left 
unsaid at the moment. At this stage certainly it was 
not true. Drumont, of course, had not lost the chance 
of an indecent exhibition — only he imputed unfair- 
ness on the opposite side. "On the first day," said 
one of the writers of the Libre Parole, "Colonel Jou- 
aust showed tact and impartiality," which meant that 
he severely cross-examined Dreyfus. But now he had 
repented of his good intentions. "Why did he brutal- 
ly threaten to clear the court when somebody shouted 
'hoo^ at Dreyfus?" If this sort of thing goes on, the 
Libre Parole reminded him^ one will recall the fact 
that Colonel Jouaust's wife is a relation of Waldeck- 
Rousseau — that that agent of the Panama swindlers 
was actually a witness at his marriage, and that his 
brother is a militant Freemason ! 

As a matter of fact, the Court-Martial commanded 
the respect of everybody, Dreyfusard or anti-, that saw 
it at work. The colonel I have spoken of before; he 
gave the idea of being a just but kindly father to 
everybody in the room. He sat there with keen eyes 
twinkling behind his eye-glasses and his huge white 
moustache hovering over the council-table like a dove. 
On his right was Lieutenant-Colonel Brogniart, Di- 
rector of the School of Artillery at Rennes, a narrow- 
headed, high-browed face, expressive of a precise in- 
telligence; his technical accomplishment was, of 
course, beyond suspicion. On the President's left 



was a mild and elderly major, with benevolent specta- 
cles and white, fluffy hair like a baby's. To right and 
left of these, like the supporters of a coat-of-arms, 
were a small major and a big, black, bullet-headed cap- 
tain on each side. All belonged either to the Engi- 
neers or to the Artillery, which means that all had 
passed through the Ecole Polytechnique, and were, 
therefore, men of education. 

The members who took the most active part were 
the Colonel, the Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain 
Beauvais. They questioned every important witness, 
and never made a single unintelligent or inapposite in- 
quiry. It was no small matter even to know the ques- 
tions in this case, much less answer them; but these 
three, at least, knew the questions thoroughly. Cap- 
tain Beauvais's examinations would have done credit 
to a lawyer. He was a burly man with a round, 
cropped head and round, staring eyes, but he follow- 
ed every turn and double of the case like a blood- 
hound. He knew what every witness was driving at, 
he knew what every witness was in a position to tell, 
and out of that he knew exactly what he wished to 

So did Colonel Jouaust. The inquiry had strayed 
the very second day far beyond the original limits 
imposed by the Cour de Cassation. But the Colonel 
made a resolute effort to keep it straight. Thereby 
he involved himself in charges of partiality from both 
sides; every French witness thinks it is grossly un- 
fair if he is not allowed to say anything he likes about 
anything. The President often came into collision 
with Labori later in the trial, partly because Labori 
wished to rage at large over all the controversies of 



the last five years, partly because Jouaust had never 
been brought in contact with such a whirlwind of a 
cross-examiner before, was a little afraid of what he 
would do next, and tried on principle to prevent him 
from doing it. The insaner Dreyfusards, who were 
the majority, objected that he treated the Generals 
with deference; but how otherwise on earth would 
you expect a colonel to treat a general? The anti- 
Dreyfusards, on the other hand, were furious with 
him for shutting down the Commissary of the Gov- 
ernment when that estimable functionary wanted to 
make speeches ; but I do not think their fury was very 
sincere after the first week or two of the case. On the 
whole Colonel Jouaust, thrown by the caprice of a 
roster into the middle of the cauldron that was seeth- 
ing his whole country, behaved with impartiality, tact, 
and dignity, and won the respect of everybody who 
watched him. Towards the finish I fancy he was very 
eager to have the beastly thing finished and get away 
with the relation of Waldeck-Rousseau into the coun- 
try. With this aim he tried his utmost to confine the 
issue to the interlaced Dreyfus and Esterhazy cases, 
and leave the Picquart, Henry, and Du Paty de Clam 
cases to settle themselves. It was not easy to keep 
them out, but at length it began to be done. Only at 
the very end, as we shall see, did he make an unques- 
tionable blunder, which damns him forever in the eyes 
of Dreyfusard Europe ; but for my part I watched him 
and still believe in his honesty. 

Now to sum up the position on the morning of 
August 22nd. The whole case had been outlined — or 
rather the whole five intertwining cases. Henceforth 
we should be able to concentrate more particularly on 



the Dreyfus-Esterhazy case proper. That case, as it 
came before the Court, you might divide into five parts. 
There was the evidence of the secret dossier, the tech- 
nical analysis of the bordereau, the character of Drey- 
fus, the handwriting, and the alleged confessions. Of 
all this we had had the first two branches fairly well 
threshed out by Mercier, Cavaignac, and Roget, on 
the one side, and Picquart on the other. The defence 
would have some witnesses bearing on them to come 
at the end of the trial. We were now about to enter 
successively on parts three, four, and five. As yet it 
looked anybody's case. Dreyfus's guilt had not been 
proved, but neither had his innocence. That, of course, 
ought not to have needed proving ; he had a right to the 
benefit of the doubt. 


It was twenty-five minutes past six of a chilly morn- 
ing. The hall of the Lycee buzzed and clacked with 
even more than its usual horse-power of conversation. 
Yesterday we were all talking of the Dreyfus case's 
sudden swoop into an abyss of murky dulness ; to- 
day everybody was galvanic with anticipation. Yester- 
day we had floated into a sleepy pool of unimportant 
witnesses, and the only ripple on the monotony was 
the gradual rehumanization of Dreyfus. To-day the 
witnesses were smaller yet — a string of unimportant 
colonels and majors — yet everybody was looking keen- 
ly forward to be thrilled. The explanation lay in one 
name — Labori. 

Even in the full gallop of French conversation eyes 
perpetually shifted towards the door. And sudden- 
ly, in a second, everybody knew that he was there. 
There moved in the great figure in the white-edged 
black gown, with the Httle black advocate's bonnet 
clinging dandily to the side of his head like a sol- 
dier's, with the big, eager face and the shock of unruly 
brown hair. 

He came in alert and eager, conscious, like all ora- 
tors, of the effect he made, frankly delighting in it — a 
spirit half electricity and half sunshine. Officers and 
sight-seers and journalists alike leaped up and shook 
the roof with clapping. He moved towards his place 
breast-deep in hand-shakes. General Mercier got up 
from his seat, walked over, and shook his hand. Awhile 
the two stood bowing, smiling, talking easily — the 
two champions in the mortal fight for a man's life and 



the dominion of France — each accuser and each ac- 
cused — each well knowing that the victory he is striv- 
ing after is the utter downfall of the other. But for 
those unaffected minutes Labori and Mercier were 
nothing but two honest men and gentlemen. France 
may have lost much that was great during these years 
of faction, but there still remains French courtesy. 

"Presentez-r-r-mesr The rifles clatter; the Court 
enters, salutes, takes its seat. Then the President — 
he, too, a model of suave and sincere courtesy — ex- 
presses the sympathy of the judges, congratulates the 
lawyer on his escape. He rises to reply. 

"Do not tire yourself," says the Colonel; but you 
might as well try to stop the earth in its orbit as the 
natural orator when his feelings are aflow. He rises, 
his huge figure just a little bent, his color the flush 
of fever rather than of health, his voice retaining the 
warmth and music of its old tones, but without the 
fire and ringing steel — and out it pours. The words 
rush out in a stream, yet, despite the softness of the 
utterance, their articulation is such that from the back 
of the hall you hear almost every one. He speaks of 
the cruelty of the blow that struck him down at the 
moment of realizing his two years' dream, of pleading 
this case in all its amplitude before a military tribunal 
— of his sorrow then and his joy to-day; he thanks first 
the Court and then everybody, known and unknown, 
friend and foe, who have expressed sympathy with 
him ; gives all to know that he has come back to fight 
and win; and concludes melodiously that the part of 
error in human aflfairs is always greater than the part 
of bad faith. 

In an Englishman it would have disgusted; in a 



common Frenchman it would have moved a kindly 
smile; in Labori it touched and stirred and thrilled. 
Here, at last, was an orator. Whether he meant it all 
or not^ — and for my part I make no doubt he did — 
mattered nothing to the oratory ; the rest of us, what- 
ever we felt, could not have seemed to feel it as he. 
A true orator — an actor with brains. His gestures, in- 
stead of following his words as a clumsy speaker's do, 
moved with them on the same impulse, spontaneous, 
unconscious, the outward index of the spirit. His 
voice swayed and swung, paused and hastened, glided 
over this, hurled itself on that, till it became an au- 
tomatic commentary on his words and played on the 
hearts of men as a master plays on an organ. It was 
not a man saying words; it was thought, feeling, and 
purpose, coming out into words by themselves, and 
coming out in perfect harmony with each other. It 
was not a speech, but the revelation of a soul. 

The witnesses came in and began to tell their unin- 
teresting stories. But before the second had stood 
down the air was suddenly quivering with combat. 
Labori was fighting; and in a twinkle the whole aspect 
of the case was changed. For twelve days the Gen- 
erals had been ponderously attacking; an hour of 
Labori and they were suddenly on their defence. As 
the witness enters and begins his tale the advocate 
is lying rather than sitting in the arm-chair they have 
given him, one of the lowest heads in court, instead 
of the highest as he had been the first day; his whole 
aspect spells lassitude. The witness goes on; he slow- 
ly sits up, and crouches his head close over the table, 
like a lion watching its prey. The witness finishes; 
slowly, slowly the great form upheaves itself, bent 



nearly double over the table. His turn to question is 
just coming; he raises himself erect and towers. And 
then he springs. His voice is gentle, reasonable, per- 
suasive, but he swoops on the vital part. 

It was Major Rollin, the present head of the Intelli- 
gence Department, that he swooped on first. Did Ma- 
jor Rollin translate the Schneider forgery? No. That 
question should be gone into with closed doors^ says 
the Commissary of the Government, and like a flash 
comes Labori's parry. It was General Mercier, not 
he, who introduced Colonel Schneider's name and let- 
ter; then, none contradicting him, he goes on his 
way. Can Major Rollin tell him whom he is to ques- 
tion about the translation? No. Then what is the 
worth of documents which we cannot see, which we 
may not discuss, for which it is impossible to know 
who is responsible? 

A second to feel the blow, but not to recover from 
it, and then, gently, persuasively, how did General 
Mercier come by his copy of this document? Gen- 
eral Mercier will not reply. 

"Mr. President, I insist!" says Labori. 

The generals gasp; here, suddenly, is a man who 
insists. "1 allow myself to insist" — the gentle voice 
is rising — "that questions put very respectfully and 
with great prudence shall be answered. We want 
complete light. I insist'' — the voice is swelling to a 
roar — *T insist upon General Mercier answering, for I 
have a right to an answer." 

Stupefaction! No help from the Court; no prompt- 
ing from friends; General Mercier takes the respon- 

"It is his own personal responsibility;" then, swift- 



ly, mercilessly: ''I ask by what right General Mercier 
has in his possession, all the secret documents?" 

No answer. 

"I insist." 

"But as General Mercier will not answer," says the 
President — 

''But the law!" thunders Labori. ''There is a law 
on espionage! When this document came into the 
bureau General Mercier was no longer Minister. It 
is a crime!" 

Five minutes of time — a score of sentences as sharp 
as rapiers, as crushing as sledge-hammers^ — and the 
Dreyfus case is turned clean round. Five minutes 
ago Mercier was the accuser. Now he sits silent — the 
accused — accused under that very law on espionage 
which he was pressing against Dreyfus. The advo- 
cate has made no change in the evidence. But he has 
put the other side in the wrong. 

Henceforth there is only one man in the room, but 
he fills it — the man who insists. The spectators watch 
him and hold their breath when he rises to speak. The 
Court sit and listen to his smashing blows in silence, 
as if he were an uncontrollable force of nature. The 
prosecutor sits paralyzed. The generals lay their 
heads together. The witnesses give evidence 
with one eye on the Court and the other on the cross- 
examiner. The very gendarmes wake and follow the 
trial. The very soldiers of the guard outside bunch 
together, creep nearer, and peer into the hall at the 
man who insists. 

The Dreyfus case is Labori. He has all the dogged- 
ness of Mercier, the subtlety of Roget, the clearness 
of Picquart, the passion of Dreyfus himself. All eyes 

* 107 


to see the weak spot, lightning to strike, crystal to 
argue and confute, inflexible iron to compel — now 
luring Siren, now raging Berserker — Labori is the 
very incarnation of the all-inquiring, all-constraining, 
relentless, resistless, remorseless might of law. 

At the end of the day Dreyfus turned and shook 
his hand for the second time, and for the first time his 
stony face broke and melted into a smile. 



Presently, on the same day, we saw the advocate 
on his sunnier side. There came up to give evidence 
Lieutenant-Colonel Bertin-Mourot, a soldier all over 
and all through, breezy, simple-minded, kind-hearted, 
thick-headed, transparently honest. You may be sure 
that whoever goes on or whoever hangs back, his men 
will follow Colonel Bertin. He gave his evidence like 
a series of words of command^ — now pausing to re- 
member, now checking to correct himself, now burst- 
ing into a gust of exclamation, now turning with a 
stentorian "No! No, no! Oh, no, no!" on an advocate 
he suspected of tripping him up. It was thinking aloud 
in a voice of thunder. 

He had been Dreyfus's chief in the Second Bureau 
of the General Stafif, and spoke of his habits. When 
asked what were the hours of his bureau he replied 
with feeling, ''We were supposed to go to breakfast 
at half-past eleven, but how many's the time we've 
not left till twelve or half-past !" When he began a 
story telling how M. Sheurer-Kestner sent for him, he 
cried, unafifectedly, "I suspected at once that it was 
the Dreyfus case coming up in the healthy regimental 
life I was leading." He told how he was walking at 
Belfort with one of the Sheurer-Kestners, and passed 
the factory of the Dreyfus family. "It is a peculiar 
factory — in the centre a big chimney, on the right 
nothing — a desert surrounded by walls. I turned and 
said, 'There's Tropman's field — there's the field of 
crim.e.' That shows I never doubted Dreyfus's guilt." 

Here at least was no intriguer. Labori rose to cross- 



examine him, and there ensued the queerest, most ir- 
regular, most irrelevant, prettiest scene of comedy 
you ever ought not to have heard in a law court. "Does 
Colonel Bertin remember," asks Labori, "that I had 
the honour of dining with him at the house of a com- 
mon friend a fortnight after Dreyfus's degradation?" 
"Name?" cries hearty Bertin. Labori whispers. *'Cer- 
tainly." "Does Colonel Bertin remember telling me he 
considered himself one of the principal artisans of 
Dreyfus's condemnation." "Artisan? No! Allow me! 
The word is important." Then he goes on to explain 
that he always had thought till the other day that he 
discovered Dreyfus's treason, but now his comrades 
assure him they discovered it while he was on leave. 
"At any rate, Colonel Bertin spoke of the affair with 
emotion." "Emotion! I should think so! One of my 
old oflBcers condemned of high treason! I should think 
so." "Does not Colonel Bertin remember speaking 
very warmly about Maitre Demange — not in any 
way that might wound him?" "When recalling a con- 
versation it is important to bear in mind its atmos- 
phere." "Surely." "Maitre Labori will permit me to 
remind him that he was then, as he may be now for all 
I know, the man who came up to me, took both my 
hands, and said, 'Never shall I forget what you did 
for my father.' And I honour myself to-day that I 
may perhaps have had something to do with the giv- 
ing of that well-earned cross to M. Labori, Chief In- 
spector of the Eastern Railway. I found myself at 
dinner with the son of this good M. Labori, who did so 
well in 1870; evidently I talked to him with pleasure. 
What I said I don't know. Will you go on with your 
story, Maitre Labori? If I remember I will say to 



you, *Yes; quite true; I remember.' " ''I hope," takes 
up Labori, full of good humour, "Colonel Bertin un- 
derstands that I am not setting a trap for him. First, 
will he allow me to thank him from the bottom of my 
heart for what he has just said and what I was not 
expecting to hear?" "I am here to tell the truth," 
breaks in the jolly Colonel; "I have nothing to hide." 

And so on. The conversation turned out to have 
nothing in it at all, merely that the Colonel had said 
that Demange was advocate of the German Embassy, 
and that Labori, seeing how easily a good soldier could 
believe a ridiculous fable, thereupon began to suspect 
the innocence of Dreyfus. There was nothing in the 
silly incident at all except sheer courtesy and mu- 
tual kindliness. Sheer waste of time, of course, only 
I do not think anybody grudged it. The Dreyfus 
case is not so full of mutual kindliness as all that. 

The remaining witnesses of August 226. and those of 
the 23d and 24th, were — with one exception, treated 
later — neither lengthy nor important. The first was 
Lieutenant-Colonel Gendron, of the ist Cuirassiers — a 
smart-looking officer who had done some service for the 
Intelligence Department. He told us how he had 
once been to see an Austro-Hungarian lady in Paris, 
who was neither young, nor beautiful, nor virtuous, 
but who knew a great deal about Austria and Hun- 
gary. So did Colonel Gendron, whereon she said he 
must be a spy. After he had gone away, the Colonel 
reflecting on these words, and on the luxury wherein, 
although neither young nor beautiful, she was able 
to live, came to the conclusion that she must be a 
spy herself. When Dreyfus was charged in 1894 with 
having been to this same lady's house, he replied that 



Colonel Gendron went there, too, and so he supposed 
there was no harm in it. Thus Colonel Gendron came 
into the case, and all this he said in 1894. ''But there 
is one thing," he added, with great solemnity, ''which 
during four years I have just spent in Africa has dwelt 
with a veritable anguish in my spirit, and which my 
conscience tells me it is my duty to tell to-day. When- 
ever they gambit like this you can always be sure 
that something of sterling unimportance is coming; 
and so it did. The question that inspired his anguish 
was this: Why did Dreyfus, not knowing him, give 
his name, of all others, as reference for the Austro- 
Hungarian lady? And he darkly added that at that 
time he had just quitted a most confidential post in 
the Intelligence Department. It was most suspicious 
— until Maitre Demange pointed out that he had, as a 
matter of fact, asked himself that very question before 
the Court-Martial of 1894. 'T thought I hadn't," was 
all the Colonel replied — and went off presumably to 
forget he had said it again, and suffer anguish of con- 
science four years more. 

The rest of the day was a procession of Dreyfus's 
old comrades on the General Staff. Captain Besse 
next testified that Dreyfus once came into his room 
to bring a secret document up to date; it was agreed 
on all sides that he had been ordered to do so by his 
commanding officer. Major Boullenger said Dreyfus 
knew a great deal about mobilization, and once asked 
him a very significant question about changes in the 
points of detrainment for the cavalry divisions of the 
covering troops. Dreyfus said that the only question 
he asked was, "Any news in the Fourth Bureau?" Next 
came Lieutenant-Colonel Jeannel, who had lent Drey- 



fus a firing-manual at a date he could not fix. On the 
whole, he thought it was before July. Dreyfus replied 
to this deposition that he never borrowed the firing- 
manual at all, and that in 1894 the prosecution alleged 
that he had learned of it from conversations in Febru- 
ary and March, whereas Jeannel never saw the manual 
till May. The last witness of the day was Major Mais- 
tre, who likewise dwelt on Dreyfus's knowledge and 
his insatiable curiosity. 

Next day saw the procession of officers resumed. 
Major Roy said that Dreyfus could easily have got at 
the safes in the War Office where documents were 
kept. Major Dervieu said the same, and added that 
Dreyfus boasted of being able to come late to the of- 
fice in the morning, with the implication that he stayed 
alone after hours to make up his work. The prisoner 
retorted that he came late only on the Mondays be- 
tween August 1 6th and September 24th, during which 
time his wife was away in the country and he spent 
Sundays with her. Then came Captain Duchatelet, 
who said that Dreyfus (a) once opened a bag of secret 
papers, and (b) once told him he had lost either 6,000 
or 15,000 francs at the house of a courtesan. Dreyfus 
said that he opened the bag when on duty, which 
witness agreed, and energetically denied the story 
about play. 

So far things had been dull enough. But now a faint 
curiosity flickered up, for the next witness was one of 
M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire's. This gentleman, you 
must know, is an ex- judge who had constituted him- 
self a sort of private public-prosecutor of Dreyfus. He 
had published appeal after appeal imploring anybody 
who had any evidence of the traitor's treason to com- 



municate with him at once. Many had, a queer lot 
they were. One was a groom who said he had held 
Dreyfus's horse while he followed the German ma- 
noevres; one was a gentleman who said he had heard 
one German officer say to another in a cafe, ''Well, 
Dreyfus will soon bring us news about that." Another 
was a gentleman w^ho said that he had been in the 
Kaiser's bedroom and seen the words, ''Captain Drey- 
fus is arrested,^^ written on a newspaper. A fourth 
was a mysterious stranger giving the name of Karl, 
who dragged the ex-judge all over France to rendez- 
vous which somehow never came off, got him to ad- 
vance large sums for expenses, and finally wrote to 
him one morning — and to the Figaro also — returning 
the money and assuring M. Ouesnay de Beaurepaire 
that he was an ass. 

The present witness was a gentleman giving the 
name of Charles Louis du Breuil, landed proprietor. 
He wore a tight-buttoned black morning coat and 
light trousers, and looked perhaps less like a squire 
than a shop-walker. He bowed with suavity to the 
Court and began his story in the most approved novel- 
istic style. "In 1885 and 1886 I lived in Paris, and it 
was my custom to ride every morning in the Bois. 
One morning, a few feet before me, in an alley near 
the Cascade, I saw a horse slip on the ground, which 
was this morning covered with snow, fall, and bring 
down his rider with him. I did what anybody else 
would have done in my place" — and so on. The fallen 
horseman bore the melodious name of Bodson, the 
owner of a shop in the Rue de Rivoli. The incident 
produced an acquaintance, and acquaintance^ — only 
after M. du Breuil had made inquiries and received 



what he called "favorable information" as to M. Bod- 
son's character and social position — became friend- 
ship. He was introduced in due course to Madame 
Bodson, in whose company was Lieutenant Dreyfus. 
Soon after he dined with the Bodsons, and there 
again was Lieutenant Dreyfus — and also an attache 
from the German Embassy, with whom Dreyfus ap- 
peared to be on most friendly terms. The patriotic 
Du Breuil's resolution was quickly made. Next morn- 
ing he told Bodson, politely but firmly, that he would 
not go again to a house where he had met a German. 

"Why, I'm delighted to hear it," cried Bodson. 
"They're not my friends, but my wife's; and, as you 
must have seen, Dreyfus is her lover." Then he add- 
ed, "I could have him turned out of the Army to- 

"But if you turned out every officer of the French 
Army who has taken to himself his neighbor's wife," 
responded the knowing Du Breuil, "you would make 
rather a gap in the Army list." 

Bodson said he did not mean that, and proceeded, 
as bourgeois husbands always do in French plays, to 
dwell on the luxuries he allowed Madame Bodson, 
and her ingratitude for the same. A day or two after- 
wards Du Breuil asked Bodson whether it was be- 
cause of the German attache that he said that, but 
could get no direct answer. 

"If I were you," thereon said the correct Du Breuil, 
"I should go straight to the Minister of War. I be- 
lieve you to be a good Frenchman, and it is your 

"Easier said than done," replied the cautious Bod- 
son. "I am in business; I have my shop." 



"Whereupon," concluded Du Breuil, "I left him 
and never saw him again. Voild, M. le President, ma 

It was almost a pity to put any further touches to 
a masterpiece Hke Du Breuil's; it was painting the lily. 
But next morning the defence suddenly produced 
from the back of the hall a gentleman named Linol, 
liquidator of companies. He explained that, happen- 
ing to be in court the day before, there had suddenly 
fallen on his ears the name of Bodson. Now, he also 
knew Dreyfus and the Bodsons in 1885 and since; he 
was able to assert that the society they received, if a 
little mixed, said the fastidious Linol, who himself 
looked like a miller in Sunday clothes, was quite re- 
spectable. Furthermore, Dreyfus's sister-in-law visit- 
ed the house; furthermore, and here is the point, said 
the perspicuous Linol, Bodson had assured him, 
after the condemnation of Dreyfus, that he did not 
believe the accused capable of treason. 

The sentiments of Bodson being now thoroughly 
elucidated, the way was clear for another branch of 
the case. The contemporary evidence as to Dreyfus's 
part was over and we could get on to Esterhazy. But 
before we go on two points had come out very clearly 
from the officers of the General Staflf. 

The first was a very noticeable strengthening of tes- 
timony since 1894 — ever since the appeal before the 
Cour de Cassation early this year. What was then 
an opinion had now become a conviction, and general 
statement had hardened into particular and definite 
accusation. Again and again Maitre Demange, 
watchful if ponderous, called on the registrar to check 
witnesses by reading their previous statements. Colo- 



nel d'Aboville in his depositions here said that the 
author of the bordereau must be a stagiaire, or officer 
attached for a two years' course to the General Staff, 
as Dreyfus was; in 1894 he only said he must be an 
artillery officer and on the General Staff. 

Major Boullenger in 1894 said that Dreyfus's ques- 
tions were often indiscreet; here he particularized with 
the highly suspicious story of his inquiries about the 
cavalry of the covering troops. In 1894 Major Der- 
vieu merely said in a general way that Dreyfus came 
late to the office of mornings; in 1899 he said plumply 
that Dreyfus sometimes stayed absolutely alone in 
the office, between half-past eleven and two, and could 
ransack every document in the place. Of course, the 
Dreyfusards said that the order had gone out from 
the generals; evidence was ruling light and everybody 
was to make his contribution a little heavier. To my 
own mind the fact is just as well explained less dis- 
creditably; after five years of a subject a Frenchman 
can talk himself into an honest belief in anything. 
It is very possible also that the man who took no trou- 
ble with his evidence in 1894, when Dreyfus's guilt 
was taken on trust, could quite truthfully strengthen 
it when the importance and contentiousness of the case 
urged him to dig deep into his memory. In any case — 
conspiracy, honest delusion, or truth — the fact re- 
mained that the evidence against Dreyfus was being 
pressed as it had never been pressed before. 

The second point is a personal one — the attitude 
of the prisoner. All through this series of witnesses 
he was seen at his best. He sat unmoving while the 
witnesses deposed — the strange, harsh profile, grimly 
cut at the mouth by the black moustache, more rigid, 



more immobile, more unearthly than ever. But at 
the close of each testimony he rose and discussed it 
— did not merely deny and protest, but discussed it, 
neither hysterical nor automatic. His memory of 
the incidents brought forward, whether true or false, 
was for the most part wonderfully clear-cut — how 
many times he must have threshed them over inside 
his palisade! — but when he did not clearly remember 
he said so without constraint. When there was a 
plain justification for his action he said so plainly, 
when there was a point which could be cleared up in 
his favour by an inquiry he demanded inquiry. There 
was no show of passion against his accuser. But for 
one theatrical outburst : 'T love France and I love the 
army, the country. Read over what I wrote in DeviFs 
Island and you will see V' He was throughout the em- 
bodiment of clear reason, logic, moderation. 

His self-command was the more commendable in 
that for two days he had to listen to the most unamia- 
ble accounts of himself, and they were so unanimous 
it was hard to doubt that they were true. We got the 
picture of the old Dreyfus, the prosperous Dreyfus, 
the unpurged Dreyfus as he was in 1894 and will never 
be again. The picture is an ugly one. None of his 
comrades liked him; most detested him. You will 
say the other officers disliked him because he was a 
Jew; say rather because he behaved like a Jew. He 
was very able and very ambitious — but his ability and 
his ambition appeared wholly selfish. He would shirk 
laborious inquiries and then go to more conscientious 
officers for the confidential results. He ''exploited the 
situation,^' said Colonel Bertin. 

He devoted, at the same time, great attention to sub- 



jects such as mobilization which might get him a bet- 
ter post in war time than that to which he was as- 
signed. He was perpetually thrusting himself into 
what did not concern him in hopes of getting some- 
thing that might profit him. Like a true oriental, he 
was very low with the high and very high with the 
low. He could flatter his superiors, although that 
did not prevent him from irritating them with his 
importunate and impertinent curiosity. Among his 
equals and inferiors he swaggered — ''in a choking 
way," as one of^cer put it. He swaggered about his 
knowledge, his cleverness, his quickness in learning 
things, his late hours at the office, his money, his mis- 
tresses. Supple, clever, secretive, acquisitive, un- 
boundedly conceited, cheaply arrogant, tender within 
his family, licentious outside it — he seemed made to fit 
the anti-Semite imagination. 

Of course none of this proves him a traitor. None 
of it excuses these cowardly soldiers who let an un- 
popular comrade^s guilt go by default. But that he 
was unpopular who can wonder? 


The principal witness on August 23d was Charles 
Marie Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. 

On the whole, he is the most interesting and roman- 
tic character that has yet come before the Court. Drey- 
fus is more wonderful, no doubt, but Dreyfus's inter- 
est is almost an accident; it is what was done to him, 
not what he did, that makes him unique. Esterhazy 
owes his fascination to no freak of fate; he is the cap- 
tain of his own soul, and is what he is in virtue of his 
own individuality. 

Were he as commonplace as he is the opposite, he 
would still be interesting as the one person in the 
Dreyfus case who appears entirely on his own ac- 
count. He favours neither side, but rails at both. 
Neither has a good word to say for him; both sides 
spew him out of their mouths. 

Out of the cloud of irrelevancies, hearsay, and tittle- 
tattle that daily befogged us there emerges this clear 
rule of French military jurisprudence; anything from 
anybody is evidence, except anything from Esterhazy. 

Nobody believes a word he says, yet many are con- 
vinced — may have the best of reasons to know — that 
when he says he knows more than appears he is tell- 
ing the truth. Whatever he does or does not know, it 
is certain that, for reasons of his own, he does not 
wish to say it, and nobody else much wishes him to 
say it either. The revelations which he can (or can- 
not) and will (or will not) make have kept France 
agape for two years. It is no ordinary man who has 
thus blackmailed the curiosity of the world. 



I am not able to tell you what he looks like, for he 
was not there. They merely read out his letters and 
deposition before the Cour de Cassation. His photo- 
graphs suggest him as a small man with wide open 
eyes, predatory nose, huge bristling grizzled mous- 
tache, and a big square chin; the whole face is nervous, 
quivering, energetic, and passionate. Still, you cannot 
trust photographs; so in his regretted absence you 
must let his life and words speak for him. 

He was born fifty-one years ago of a Hungarian 
family, which has been settled over a hundred years 
in France. It has given many distinguished officers 
to the French Army, not the least of whom was his 
father; he, in the picturesque words of his son, ''with 
the point of his sabre inscribed on the standard of the 
4th Hussars the fight of Kanghil in the Crimea.^^ Es- 
terhazy the younger was brought up, after his father's 
death, in Austria, and at the age of eighteen he en- 
tered an Austrian cavalry regiment. He was thus in 
time for the war of 1866, and was wounded by a lance 
thrust in the chest at Custozza. Soon after he left 
the Austrian service — nobody seems to know why — 
and entered that of the Pope. With the Roman Le- 
gion he took part in the battle of Mentana; but on 
the outbreak of the Franco-German War hurried to 
place his sword at the disposal of Napoleon HI. As 
a sub-lieutenant he served through the war, being 
attached, in 187 1, to the valiant army of the Loire. 

Thus at twenty-three, Esterhazy had made three 
campaigns in three different services. His life had 
been that of a condottiere of the Italian middle ages — 
and condottiere is exactly what he ought to have been. 
What is better, he knows it. ''The Dreyfusite papers," 



said he in his deposition, "call me Reiter, Lanzknecht, 
Condottiere. It may be; I glory in it. With soldiers 
like me, men used to win battles, and such as I did 
not abandon their comrades in the melly." Esterhazy 
is the pure adventurer — a condottiere born four hun- 
dred years too late. He is as veritable a sans-patrie 
as any Jew of them all. 

Fate had brought him into the French service, but 
he cursed it and hated the French. 'The general," 
he wrote to a lady from Tunis, where he saw service 
some eighteen years ago, ''is determined to play the 
fool; we never doubted it. In the first real war these 
great leaders will be ridiculously beaten, for they are 
both cowardly and ignorant; once more they will 
go to people German prisons, which will again be too 
small to hold them." 'T should be perfectly happy," 
he wrote again, "if I were killed to-morrow as a cap- 
tain of Uhlans cutting down Frenchmen." And he 
goes on to gloat over the picture of "the sun red over 
Paris taken by assault and given over to be sacked 
by a hundred thousand drunken soldiers." 

To Frenchmen such words were horrible, unspeak- 
able. To Esterhazy, the Hungarian by descent, the 
Austrian by education, who had fought for Kaiser and 
Pope, as well as for Emperor and Republic, that he 
should next serve another Kaiser as Uhlan was the 
most natural idea in the world. It was the most nat- 
ural idea in the world that the soldier of fortune should 
dream fondly of the sack of cities. From all his life 
emerges the same character of the free-lance. Even 
before the highest Court in France his language — "I 
will not repeat his military terms," as he says himself 
of Henry — is the language of the camp. So are his 



vices. He married a lady of good family and fortune. 
"My chiefs were consulted/' he writes, with a charac- 
teristic attempt at moral blackmail, "and represented 
me to her family as an officer with a future," but he 
dissipated the fortune, and was not constant to the 
lady. His connection with Mile. Pays is to-day more 
than notorious. "You will admit," he writes, "that it 
is a queer army where one is obliged to give explana- 
tions of a thing like that." Though he never tires of 
calling himself a good officer and a good soldier, he 
was far from assiduous in his regimental duties. If 
he did not play he gambled on the Bourse. He was 
erratic, untrustworthy, continually turning on his dear- 
est friends. His conversation was wild and almost al- 
ways inapposite. When he was trying to get into the 
War Office he complained that Colonel Henry was 
keeping him out. When he was told a few hours later 
that Henry was working for him he cried, *'Why, if 
Henry weren't nice to me it would be the end of every- 
thing." He seemed that strange, but not unknown, 
phenomenon — a man wholly without balance and 
wholly without conscience. 

And yet the extraordinary thing about him was, 
that though he might leave his friends in the lurch, 
they never left him. He borrowed money and abused 
the lender if he asked for it again; but when he went 
back for more he got it. He played a crooked part 
in 1892 regarding the anti-Semitic duels, in which the 
Marquis de Mores won fame; yet when he wanted to 
be recommended for a place his fascination was such 
that the very relations of those who had suffered 
from him were unable to say No. He squandered the 
goodwill of his own family and of his wife's, yet the 



indefinable charm of his personaUty always gave him 
plenty of interest when he wanted something done. 
His mistress, Mile. Pays, remained devoted to him 
after he was ruined, imprisoned, broke. He was as 
gifted as he was winning. He spoke, says one who 
used to know him, every language in Europe. He does 
not, but you must remember that it is no common man 
in France that can speak any foreign language at all. 
He kept up with every discovery in every science, and 
was widely, if not profoundly, read in military and 
general history. He worked hard when he liked, and 
work came easy to him. 

All this builds up no ordinary character. But 
thrown over all this is another attribute not easy to 
define. It is Esterhazy's extraordinary way of envisag- 
ing himself. He considered himself different from 
other men. He is always thinking, always talking of 
himself. He is one of those men who are always in 
the centre of the stage of their own minds with them- 
selves for the applauding house; and whatever part 
Esterhazy saw fit to play he played it to the life. 

To-day he is the struggling and heroic husband and 
father; yesterday he was the frail but sympathetic sin- 
ner: to-morrow he will say, *T am nothing, but I 
am very worthy of interest and pity," because of his 
ancestors and kinsmen who died for France, and be- 
cause he is the last of his name. Next he is dignified, 
he must be worth something, because generals and 
deputies interest themselves on his behalf. Presently 
he is pathetic and furious with his friends — ''Weil, the 
friend of my childhood, for whom I have twice all but 
taken sword in hand, whom I rescued, sweating fear, 
from my friend the Marquis de Mores ; Cure who dan- 



died my children while he was getting up stories 
against me, and who has sought protection against 
me from a general, like a baby of four from its nurse." 
All owed everything to him ; all have deserted him. 

When he was accused of treason by Picquart and Du 
Paty de Clam gave him the liberating secret docu- 
ment to blackmail the General Staff with, he turned 
the screw on the generals and the very President with 
the cool, undaunted adroitness of a Sforza. When 
he came to tell the tale before the Cour de Cassation 
another part hit his fancy. He was only doing what 
his superiors wished : he was the sentry at the gate of 
Pompeii — all loyalty and discipline, and deserted. 

Dodging a dun or holding up the President of the 
Republic, it was all one to Esterhazy: for he thought 
himself the equal, or rather the better, of everybody. 
From his theatrical habit of looking at himself he 
seems to have grown imbued with a sense of the su- 
periority of his spirit and the greatness of his destiny. 
He had, indeed, all the attributes of a great man, 
except greatness. To hear him talk he might be a 
Napoleon at the very least. And because he had, af- 
ter all, never made a figure in the world, he was forever 
railing at fortune. He was born a disappointed man. 
He aspired to everything, and what he got was noth- 
ing. Half genius and half madman, ruined by his 
own extravagances, a hereditary consumptive, with- 
out patriotism, without conscience, gifted and soured, 
he "had come to fear nothing, was ready to do any- 

But to come back to the Dreyfus case: did he write 
the bordereau? Well, he says so, and the best ex- 
perts say so; so we may assume it as probable, if not 



certain, he did. But was he a traitor, or did he, as he 
says, write it to order, to condemn Dreyfus and shield 
others? Who knows? Sometimes he says he knows 
that Dreyfus gave up the documents, sometimes he 
says he did not. He used to deny he wrote the bor- 
dereau; now he says it was traced — God knows why — 
from an original which he has to this day in his pocket. 
He cannot understand why the witnesses at Rennes 
did not say what they, and he, knew; yet he himself 
says nothing. It seems most likely that it was he 
who sold the documents to Schwarzkoppen. And yet 
we must not call him traitor, for that is a crime he is 
not capable of. Where there is no sense of patriot- 
ism there can be no consciousness of treason. In his 
times, four hundred years ago, everybody did it. We 
will call him merely a condottiere drifted into his 
wrong century. 


The 24th of August was a day of resounding battle. 
It began, tamely enough, with the fag end of Dreyfus's 
contemporaries on the General Staff. But presently 
''Bring in Colonel Maurel," says the President. Colo- 
nel Maurel was President of the 1894 Court-Martial, 
which condemned Dreyfus. As the lean face and huge 
red epaulettes of the little sergeant-usher appeared, 
preceding somebody to the platform, silence swept over 
the hall, and eyes unconsciously turned to Labori. 

The Colonel — he is now retired — was a shrunken 
man, in a shapeless, shabby frock coat; his face was 
small, his forehead was low, his nose concave and 
sharp-pointed, his skin grey-green, his back humped. 
He had just learned of an accident — I am afraid a fatal 
one — to one of his children. But, making all allow- 
ance, you sat aghast that such a mean and broken 
atrophy should have commanded a regiment and pre- 
sided over the case that has shaken France like an 
earthquake. He quavered through his deposition in 
a voice like himself; he had formed his opinions on the 
evidence — especially on that of Bertillon, Du Paty, 
and Henry — and so, he believed, had the other judges. 
Yes; a communication had been received from Gen- 
eral Mercier, to be used in clearly defined conditions 
of time and place ; it was brought, not by Picquart, as 
that witness had sworn, but by Du Paty de Clam. 

He quavered to the end: "I have nothing else to 
say." Then upheaved himself Labori. 

"What were the documents communicated?" 

The astounding answer came "I do not know. I 



read out the first document; I did not read the others 
because my conviction was formed." Gently, almost 
tenderly — his habit when not resisted — Labori put in 
the deadly retort. Colonel Maurel, as judge, knew 
that he must conscientiously seek light on the whole 
case: he knew that a communication he received from 
the Minister must be sincere and give both sides of 
the question — for the accused as well as against. Why 
then did he not read the documents all through? 

'T cannot answer," faltered the weak reply. Labori 
asked for Captain Freystaetter, who was a member of 
that Court-Martial, but he was not there. Then he 
asked for Mercier. He had not yet cross-examined 
the General, he mildly explained, because of his 
wound. "As General Mercier is present," said the 
President, 'T ask him kindly to step forward." Up 
stepped the neat familiar figure; he was in uniform. It 
was business. It was to the death. The Court hushed 
again, feeling tight at the heart. The Commissary of 
the Government was frankly frightened: he begged 
that Labori would not discuss things. 'Tf Major Car- 
riere is laying down rules on which we are agreed,^^ 
said the advocate, sweetly, ''well and good. If he means 
to give me lessons, I do not accept them." 'T beg you 
not to discuss," said the President. 

And the fight began. To look at the two you would 
have said there was only one in it. Mercier was small, 
by comparison, and slight : in the tight black tunic and 
red trousers of his uniform he looked yet slighter. 
His oratorical equipment was slender: he had but 
one gesture, a cramped movement of the right arm, 
otherwise he kept his white-gloved hand behind his 
back. His voice was deep, yet hard and dry like the 



croak of a bird of prey. His mental equipment we 
knew to be small also. As he turned to face Labori — 
low forehead, hooked nose, shallow chin, heavy eye- 
* lids, and skin hanging loose from cheek bone to neck 
— he looked more like a vulture than ever. Above 
him towered Labori, the great loose-jointed figure 
wreathed in the gown that hung round him like a 
black toga — Labori with the gestures that fly to meet 
the word, and the voice that draws like music and 
shakes like thunder — Labori, the practised cross-ques- 
tioner, the enthusiast, the man who has nothing against 
him, the man with all the advantage of attack. What 
possibility of anything but defeat for the General? But 
Mercier took up his position and faced doggedly to- 
wards his enemy. The fight began. 

Labori opened with the grounds for the charge 
against Dreyfus in 1894. Were there other charges 
besides the bordereau f Yes — the secret dossier. Then 
why did General Mercier not tell the other Minis- 
ters? He told M. Hanotaux that he would not prose- 
cute on the bordereau unless there were other charges. 
Now, if there were, why did he not speak of them? If 
there were not — but he has just said there were. "I 
made no engagement with M. Hanotaux." Then Gen- 
eral Mercier contradicts — that is the most moderate 
word — M. Hanotaux. The council will remember that. 
Now if the former charges were serious, why was the 
bordereau dictated to Dreyfus by Du Paty? Why 
did Du Paty say that if Dreyfus succeeded there he 
would not be arrested? 'Tt would be one charge the 
more." Then the former charges — the rich voice 
filled the breathless room — the former charges were 
not convincing. 



He beat him back on "I had a certain indecision"; 
he buffeted him thence to *'No, these were as yet only 
presumptions." But buffeted as he was, Mercier still 
folded his white gloves coolly behind his back, still 
held up his obstinate head. Labori went on to the 
sudden arrest: was that because Mercier was being at- 
tacked in the Press? But here he did not gain a foot; 
Mercier was accustomed to being attacked in the 
Press; he did not care. Labori produced a letter show- 
ing that Henry was working with the Libre Parole to 
force the Minister's hand; Mercier sullenly wondered 
whether it was forged. Labori brought his battery up 
to shorter range: why was the bordereau originally 
assigned to April? Mercier did not know? Not know? 
Then M. le General in 1894 was completely ignorant 
of the arguments for Dreyfus's guilt? Back goes Mer- 
cier a foot: not completely, but ignorant of the details. 
Was the bordereau then a detail ? Mercier stands fast ; 
no, but it was the prosecutor's business, not his, to 
fix its date. 

So shifted back and forth the stubborn duel. Mer- 
cier was retreating nearly always, but retreating slow- 
ly* doggedly, with his rear-guard facing the enemy. He 
refused to give any account of his thoughts; it was 
quite enough, he grimly said, to have to answer for 
one's words and deeds. When Labori spoke of his 
examination as an "interrogatory" — the word used 
for the examination of an accused person^ — and as a 
"discussion," Mercier turned sharply, and for the mo- 
ment beat him back. Once he counter-attacked smart- 
ly. "I ask," said Labori, "what has been done with the 
thirty-five million francs which, according to Gen- 
eral Mercier, have been sent from England and Ger- 



many for the cause of Dreyfus?" "Perhaps I might 
ask you that," retorted the General. 

Again and again Labori drove him to silence or re- 
fusal to answer; but he never broke him up. The big 
man used every artifice of eloquence and forensic clev- 
erness; you could see his face and all his gestures, and 
he seemed a terrible antagonist. Of the little man you 
could only see the smooth, narrow back of his head 
and the clasped white gloves. He looked once more 
like a naughty boy before his schoolmaster. But he 
stood up doggedly under his punishment; he came 
up again gamely after every blow. The cold, passion- 
less voice never faltered. As he had showed no hate 
before Dreyfus, so he showed no fear before Labori. 
He was still the Grand Inquisitor — the man who was 
as ready to stand torture for his own faith as to torture 
others for theirs. 

Labori shifted his battery to yet another position. 
The letter of Panizzardi, presumably to Schwarzkop- 
pen, beginning, 'T send you the manual" — the letter 
of which Henry cut off the top and the bottom for 
his forgery, the letter which bears the date "June, 
1894," in red ink at the top — when did that come into 
the Intelligence Department? Mercier thought that 
perhaps General Gonse would know. General Gonse 
came up, and in a second the whole hall was in a tu- 
mult, and the duel had become a general action. Officer 
after officer sprang up in the body of the hall, dashed 
on to the platform, took up position, unlimbered, 
opened fire. Gonse. nervous and reluctant; Roget, 
waving his hand, dancing about the platform, his neat 
white moustache bristling with rage; Gribelln, the ar- 
chivist, delighted to hear his voice again; Lauth eager, 



but cool and ready — the Alsatian! — when everybody 
else was losing his head; Carriere, the Government 
Commissary, fearful of what this wild bull of a La- 
bori would do next — they were all six of them in action 
together. Mercier, Roget,, and Gribelin in the firing 
line, Gonse and Lauth in support, Carriere in reserve 
— and Labori against the six, pouring in invective, 
logic, satire like case-shot. The echoes of the cannon- 
ade were tossed from wall to wall and mingled in mur- 
murs under the roof. Then they sank and stilled as 
suddenly as they had risen. A three-cornered collo- 
quy was going on between Labori, Mercier, and Gen- 
eral Chamoin, a courteous, bald-headed gentleman 
in charge of the secret dossier. And then Labori and 
Mercier were both limbering up and drawing off their 
guns for the day. 

It was a defeat for Mercier, and yet it had not been 
the rout his enemies had hoped for. He had made im- 
portant admissions. He had allowed that his knowl- 
edge of the Dreyfus case, and even his conviction of 
his guilt, dated from a period subsequent to the trial 
of 1894 — that is, were formed at a time when, in moral 
and professional self-defence, he was in a way bound 
to hold Dreyfus guilty. It had been made clear that 
if the bordereau was written in August, 1894, Paniz- 
zardi's letter about the manual, dated June, 1894, was, 
supposing it and its date to be genuine, no evidence 
against Dreyfus. Thirdly, and most damaging for 
Mercier, was General Chamoin's statement that Mer- 
cier had communicated to him from Colonel du Paty 
deClam a version of thePanizzardi telegram beginning 
with the words, "The Ministry of War have a report or 
a proof of a secret offer made by Dreyfus to Ger- 



many." This was, of course, a wilful and diabolical 

falsification. All this was bad for Mercier. On the 

other hand, Labori had got nothing else of significance 

out of him. And one very important point Mercier 

had made — that whatever had or had not been done in 

1894 was irrelevant, that the decision of the first 

Court-Martial had been quashed, and that the only 

question now was the original one — whether or not 

Dreyfus gave up secrets to a Foreign Power. Thus 

Mercier astutely withdrew his weakest point out of fire. 

The finish and crushing climax of this flight came 
two days later. Captain Freystaetter, one of the 
judges of 1894, had been called for on the 24th, but 
was not present. On the 26th, sandwiched between 
two devastating experts in handwriting, he was sud- 
denly there. 

He came up on the platform — the manliest figure of 
a man that had yet stood on it. Under the uniform 
black tunic, dark-blue trousers, of the ]\Iarine Infan- 
try, you could see that while not very tall, he was 
broad, and built with great strength. He wore a long 
moustache and pointed beard, his cropped hair was 
prematurely grey, his face lined and worn to a brow, 
nose, cheek-bone, and chin, yet hard, steadfast, and 
resolute. Were he an Englishman you would put him 
down to the Navy; and it did not need the four war- 
medals on his breast to tell you that while other 
men in this case were riding in the Bois, Freystaetter 
had been pushing through the jungles of Tongking, 
Madagascar. But more than that was in his face — 
in the contracted brows and the eyes half hunted, half 
determined. It was the face of a man who has been 



on bad terms with his conscience, who knows that to 
reconcile himself with it will mean the loss of half his 
friends, may likely mean the ruin of his whole life — 
and who is about to do it. 

He took the oath and in a firm voice began to speak. 
The sleepy hall looked up — and in thirty seconds it 
was awake, breathless, pulseless, trembling. Frey- 
staetter used no preface, told no story, made no speech. 
He simply stood up and said, 'T was a member of the 
1894 Court-Martial. My conviction was formed on 
the evidence of the experts, of Du Paty and of Henry. 
Only I must add that I was slightly influenced by 
the secret documents communicated. They were (i) 
a biographical notice charging Dreyfus with treason 
committed at the School of Pyrotechnic at Bourges, 
at the Ecole de Guerre, and on the General Staff; (2) 

The Canaille de D document; (3) The Davignon 

letter; (4) A telegram from a foreign military attache 
definitely asserting the guilt of the accused. This tele- 
gram, if I remember right, ran: Dreyfus arrested, 
emissary warned" The whole hall leaped with excite- 
ment. It did not need Labori rushing in to follow 
up the blow to remind us that here was a telegram that 
really exculpated Dreyfus presented in a falsified 
form to inculpate him — when General Mercier had 
sworn it was never presented at all. Or that here were 
four documents read out — when Colonel Maurel had 
sworn he had read but one. We had come to it at last 
— the lie direct. 

In dead silence Maurel quaked up to the platform 
and turned a green face, not towards the President, 
but up towards Labori. His voice was all but a shriek, 
yet clear, as he raised a forefinger and said, "I said I 



only read one document, but I did not say that only 
one was read." A low roar thrilled from the hall. He 
went on, 'As M. Freystaetter has told all, I passed the 
papers to my neighbour, saying I was tired." Again 
that muffled roar of wonder, of indignation, of an- 
guished agitation. "Had the telegram the words 
Emissary warned^' "I do not remember. I only read 
the documents in a listless way." Then broke in again 
the voice of Freystaetter, harsh with emotion, but loud 
and insistent. "Not only did I read them, but Colonel 
Maurel had them all in his hands and commented on 
each as he passed it to us." 

General Mercier came up to the bar, unflinching as 
ever, and even the cold inquisitor's voice rang with 
passion. "What was the document betrayed by Drey- 
fus at the School of Pyrotechnic?" 

"It concerned a shell." 

"Then Captain Freystaetter is caught in the act of 
lying. The Robin shell was not betrayed until 1895. 
As for the telegram, I still maintain it was not shown to 
the Council." 

Freystaetter stood with his kepi crushed under his 
arm, his head and jaw thrust forward as he turned on 
Mercier with all the stubborn rage of a fighter and 
a little of the contempt of a plain man for a liar. "I 
say the words were in the telegram," he hoarsely cried. 
"I never said that there was a telegram or any docu- 
ment whatever speaking of a shell. I simply said that 
there was in the commentary an accusation which 
concerned treason at the School of Pyrotechnic, and 
that that treason did concern a shell. I am saying 
nothing to-day of which I am not absolutely sure." 
Every soul in court believed him. 



"I must insist that M. du Paty de Clam be medical- 
ly examined," cried Labori. ''General Mercier says Du 
Paty made up the packet." '1 did not," said Mercier, 
fighting to the last. 'T said that I did not make it up 
myself." Now the hall was dead silent as with con- 
sternation. We seemed to be on the very brink of 
who knew what bottomless abyss of fraud. 'T now 
learn," added Mercier, ''from General de Boisdeffre 
that it was Colonel Sandherr." 

On the choking hall fell the rich thrilling voice of 
Labori. "Dead," he said, "always the dead. Sandherr 
dead ! Henry dead ! Du Paty de Clam does not come." 

The President checked him sharply, and heaving ag- 
itation sank to the mill-pond of expert evidence in 
handwriting. Captain Freystaetter came down looking 
like a brave man who had seen the Devil — scared but 
defiant. He sat down all by himself, neither with the 
Dreyfusard witnesses nor with the anti-Dreyfusards. 
In the place reserved for simple soldiers, who serve 
France, eschew party, and tell the truth, he sat down 


C/S-^m t/St*» 




There was once a time, in the childhood of the world, 
when we were anxious to see Dreyfus taken to 
and from the court of a morning. In those simple 
days they set a watch about all the streets whence he 
could possibly be seen. As you approach the Lycee, 
out of the speckless leisurely streets of Rennes, you 
come on a barrier of armed men. Eight cavalry horses 
are yawning over eight troopers, who hold their bridles 
as they sit on chairs in the middle of the road. Half a 
dozen infantry soldiers sit on chairs on the pavement. 
Two gendarmes sit on chairs in the gutter. 

A little white ticket will take you through the cor- 
don, and you are under the walls of the Lycee. A buzz 
issues through the windows. Half-way along the wall 
is a wooden water-pipe, down which trickles a scanty 
rivulet of envelopes — news of the Dreyfus case. About 
the lower end of it a gendarme and about half a dozen 
messenger boys sit on chairs. As you pass in — I say 
"you"; anybody that likes can borrow a ticket and 
pass in to-day — there are half a dozen soldiers sitting 
on a seat and spitting on the flags. The courtyard 
is thickly sprinkled with witnesses and journalists 
smoking cigarettes. In the hall itself, before the judges, 
a bald, grey-bearded old gentleman, with a baggy 
jacket and incredibly short legs, is sitting in a chair 
and giving his views on handwriting. His name is 
Belhomme, and there is no need to say more of him 
than Esterhazy, whose cause he is pleading, has put 
on record — "This Belhomme is an idiot; you have only 
to look at him!" The whole hall — judges, counsel, 


public — looks as if a shrapnel shell had burst over it. 
Some are flung backwards, with their heads over the 
backs of chairs; some have fallen heavily forward, with 
their heads on tables; some heads have collapsed into 
chests; all are half dead. 

The experts in handwriting began on Friday morn- 
ing, the 25th of August ; it was now the 29th, and they 
are not over yet. All but the two first were inaudible ; it 
mattered the less in that they all contradicted each 
other positively. Of the two audible one was irrele- 
vant and the other incomprehensible. The first ap- 
peared to the unofficial public as a bald head and the 
back of the amplest frock-coat I ever saw. In front of 
these was M. Gobert, expert, as he assured us in a fat 
voice, to the Bank of France. 'That means something," 
whispered an enthusiast beside me, and so it doubtless 
does, only neither that nor anything else could mean 
all that M. Gobert meant it to mean. On the strength 
of being expert to the Bank of France, M. Gobert 
gave a detailed history of the commencement of the 
Dreyfus case. He described the bearing of various 
generals, which appeared to him highly suspicious. For 
example, one day he found General de Boisdeffre sur- 
rounded by a group of officers ; but on his appearance 
the General asked them to go away. That reminded 
M. Gobert (expert to the Bank of France) that in 1894 
he was treated as a suspect witness because he wished, 
before giving his conclusion, to know the name of the 
accused. "But I will not complain," he said, mag- 
nanimously, after complaining for a quarter of an 
hour; "that unfortunate" — he waved himself towards 
Dreyfus — "has suffered more than I have." After that 
he talked for half an hour about himself, and suddenly 



said, ''Gentlemen, I do not wish to speak much of my- 
self; but I will; for, gentlemen, I am expert to the 
Bank of France." At the end he said, "I am sorry 
my time is limited; otherwise I could prove to you the 
date of the bordereau." Now the date of the bordereau 
is the principal crux of the case. 'T do not insist," 
added the magnanimous Gobert. 

"If you can tell us you may," said the President, 
ever hopeful of enlightenment. ''Why, then, there is 
a letter of Esterhazy dated August 17th, which I call 
the key of the Dreyfus case. It is written on the 
same paper as the bordereau, and in it he says he 
has just been for a fortnight to the school of firing at 
Chalons. The bordereau concludes with the phrase, 
'I am just starting for the manoeuvres.^ That phrase," 
said the expert, slowly, "has its importance." (It 
has been discussed by all the master-minds of France 
for five years.) "Now Esterhazy on August 17th 
had just been to the manoeuvres for a fortnight, 
therefore he was just going to the manoeuvres about 
July 25th. That," he added, with the proud humility 
of the true discoverer, "I give you for what it is 
worth." As everybody knew the facts and everybody 
had discussed the inference for the first fortnight or 
so of the trial, there seemed to be an impression that 
it was not worth very much. One of the judges had 
the idea to ask him some questions as to handwriting, 
but on that point the expert to the Bank of France was 
jejune. "I did notice something," he said, "but I have 
forgotten the details." 

He went off heavily, and M. Bertillon bounded on 
to the scene. 

He is a little man in a black frock-coat and more 


and blacker hair than you would think could grow — 
his head a hogged mane, his cheeks and lips and chin 
like the bursting of an over-stuffed sofa. You felt that 
if you passed your hand over his head it would draw 
blood from you and sparks of electricity from him. He 
bounded up, and then turned and looked behind him; 
toiling in his rear were four soldiers, stalwart beyond 
the wont of France, bent double under a table and vast 
portfolios. These were his professional properties — 
the plant wherewith he was about to demonstrate 
mathematically the new Bertillon system — the guilt of 

In a low but firm and rapid voice he began to ex- 
pound. Presently, warming to his work, he leaped 
upon his portfolio, tore it open, and dashed at the 
President with a framed photograph. He darted from 
judge to judge; the Government commissary and the 
registrar and the counsel gathered round, till nothing 
remained of Bertillon but a muffled patter and a cen- 
tral wriggle. Then, suddenly, with a wild whoop, he 
burst out of the throng, waving the frame round and 
round his head like a tomahawk. "Five millimetres 
reticulation,'^ he yelled, in triumph; "12.5 centimetres 
gabarit and a millimetre and a quarter imbrication ! 
Always you find it — always — always!" 

I desire to speak with respect of the new Bertillon 
system, because the other day I almost understood it. 
It begins thus. Here is is the bordereau; is it a genuine 
document or a forgery? I rule horizontal and vertical 
lines over it at a distance of five millimetres, and what 
do I find? I find that the words which occur twice — 
manoeuvres, niodification, disposition, copie^sll be- 
gin, within a millimetre, in exactly the same part of 



one of the squares I have ruled. It is 5 to i against 
this happening in any single case; against its happen- 
ing in all these cases it is 10,000 to 16. Add all the 
other words — which he did not specify — that follow 
the same law, and the chance becomes 100,000,000 to 
I. Conclusion: this could not happen naturally. The 
bordereau is forged. 

Now, who forged it, and why? Take, again, the 
polysyllables that are repeated in the bordereau — ma- 
noeuvres, inodiUcatioii, and the rest. Place one over 
the other, and you find the beginnings coincide, while 
the ends do not. But shift the word that comes earliest 
a millimetre and a quarter to the right, and the ends 
coincide also. 

This is all very curious. But when I came to exam- 
ine the writing of Alfred Dreyfus done in the War 
Office, imagine my astonishment to find that it also 
presented the same pecuHarities. Only there were 
many letters in the bordereau which diflfered from 
those used by Dreyfus — particularly an "o/' in the 
form of a little circle in the line connecting the letters 
before and after it, and a double ''s," with the first 
letter short and the second long, whereas Dreyfus 
made the first "s" long and the second short. 

Next I took the letters seized in Dreyfus's house. 
Imagine my astonishment to find that the writing of 
Mme. Dreyfus and Mathieu Dreyfus presented exactly 
the forms of letters used in the bordereau, except the 
double "s" ! Then I found a letter dated "Muhlhausen," 
and signed "AHce"; imagine my astonishment to find 
that Alice made her double "s" exactly like the writer 
of the bordereau! Then I investigated a letter of Ma- 
thieu Dreyfus — a year old^found in the prisoner's 



blotting-book. Imagine my astonishment to find that 
its polysyllables presented just the same phenomena 
as those of the bordereau and Alfred Dreyfus's work 
at the War Office! It contained the phrase "quelques 
renseignements/' which is also in the bordereau; place 
one on the other, and the beginning and end coincide; 
shift the phrase from the blotting-book a millimetre 
and a quarter to the right, and — imagine my — aston- 
isment ! — the middles coincide also. 

Now, why was it done? It is obvious who did it. 
Who but Dreyfus had access both to the War Office 
and his own blotting-book? The case is now clear. 
Dreyfus wished, in case his treason was detected, to 
have a defence ready. Therefore he forged the docu- 
ment to imitate his own writing with touches of his 
wife's and Mathieu's and Alice's. If his treasonable 
documents were found on him — as in his overcoat or 
in his desk at the War Office — he could say, 'This is 
a forgery — a plot against me!" and demonstrate by 
the five-millimetre squares and coincidences of words 
that the thing was traced. If the thing were found on 
him at the War Office he could point to the official 
documents he had written as the basis of the fraud; 
if at home, to Mathieu's letter and his wife's, and 
Alice's. If, on the other hand, one of his documents 
went astray undated and unsigned, and were recog- 
nized as his handwriting — which is what actually did 
happen — he could point to Mathieu's "o" and Alice's 
double "s" as proofs that it must be in the handwriting 
of somebody else. 

Nay, more; he actually did begin that contemplated 
defence. He said to Henry and to Cochefert that this 
was a plot. He said to Du Paty de Clam, 'They have 



stolen my handwriting." He said to d'Ormescheville, 
''They have taken bits from a letter of mine." Why, 
then, did he not pursue that line of defence? Because 
he saw I had detected him. "When he heard me say 
'demicentimetric reticulations/ " said M. Bertillon, 
with pardonable pride, "his face congestioned, and he 
said, audibly, 'the wretch !' " 

But how did he do it? He could not have a model 
ready of every word he was ever likely to use; there- 
fore he could not have traced the bordereau from his 
War Office letters or yet from the writing of Alice or 
Mathieu. The explanation lies in one word — gabarit. 
A gabarit, as its inventor handsomely allows, might 
just as well be called anything else; however, we will 
go on calling it gabarit. I like the sound. A gabarit 
is a master-word slid along the line of writing under 
the thin paper you are writing on. You form your 
letters on it. When the letter under your pen is not 
the letter you want to write you retouch it, just as 
you might retouch and alter letters of your own writ- 
ing into something else — could make "o" into "d," 
for instance, or "i" into "I." Dreyfus's gabaritic 
master-word was interet, written end to end again and 
again. Only it was written not in one series, but in 
two, one over the other — the second beginning a milli- 
metre and a quarter to the right of the beginning of 
the first. That accounts for the coincidence of the 
two "quelques renseignements'' and the other repeated 
polysyllables when you shift them that distance. Drey- 
fus began the long words on letters of one of the 
chains formed by the word "interet/' and then in the 
middle of it shifted on to the other. The idea was to 
vary the writing and make it look natural; at the 



same time he knew that, if it suited his defence, he 
could always show that it was traced. 

So , if you write interetintcretinterct . . . long 
enough and then write over it — beginning a millimetre 
and a quarter to the right of the leftmost point of the 
first "i" — intcretinterctinterct . . . again — there is 
your gabarit, and you can write the bordereau for 
yourself just as surely as Dreyfus did. And that is 
the new Bertillon system. 

Gabarit: the new parlour game — it will be an excel- 
lent amusement for the long winter evenings. How- 
ever, as I say, it should be taken seriously, for it is 
amazingly clever. If I had seen the diagrams I should 
probably understand it better and think it cleverer still. 
We know from Captain Freystaetter that it impressed 
the Court-Martial of 1894; I think it also impressed the 
Court-Martial of 1899. It seems to me a perfectly 
feasible and convenient way of disguising your hand, 
and I do not dare to criticise it on its own ground. I 
will only say that it seems also a very convenient wav 
of proving to a half-honest man, who wished to believe 
Dreyfus guilty, that Dreyfus is guilty. 

As for its parent, when he had finished his deposition 
he had finished the Dreyfus case. He did not even pre- 
tend to take any notice of his cross-examination. He 
trotted up and down about the platform packing up his 
luggage; if anybody asked a question, he just looked 
up and said, ''Very likely. I don^t know. I don't 

And then on top of him came a gentleman named 
Matthias George Paraf Javal. (That would make a 
good gabarit, by the way — paraf javalparafja'valparaf- 
jav . . .) He brought a blackboard, at which he shook 



his fist and made most horrible grimaces, expounding 
the while in a squeaky voice the theory that Bertillon's 
measurements are all wrong, and that the bordereau 
does not as a matter of fact fit the gabarit. To-day 
came on M. Bernard, a mining engineer — of course, he 
would know — explaining that Bertillon's theory is the 
negation of all logic and the abrogation of the laws of 
probability. We may leave it to them to fight out, 
which they were only too anxious to do ; only, happily, 
the President would not let them have it out in court. 
In the meantime I — if I may — will suggest one or 
two considerations of my own. The weak point of the 
system is that it was too plainly built on Dreyfus's 
guilt instead of Dreyfus's guilt resulting from it. If I 
were a traitor and wanted to mix somebody else^s hand- 
writing with my own, I should not select my wife's and 
my brother's ; and if I used Alice's, I should not leave 
her letters lying about my house. If I were clever 
enough to use a master-word so as to disclaim my writ- 
ing in case of detection, I should probably also be clever 
enough to know that in case of detection my house 
would certainly be searched, and I should not leave m} 
master-word lying in my blotting-book. Finally, if I 
were such a careful traitor as to write on a master- 
word, I should not send covering letters with my docu- 
ments at all. M. Bertillon asked himself this question — 
Why the covering letter? — and concluded that it was 
written on the master-word as a means of defence, as 
explained above. But presumably the documents of 
which the bordereau speaks were also written on the 
''gabarit," since they were just as likely to be seized or 
to miscarry as the covering letter. It would be no use 
disguising the one and not the other, and if the docu- 



ments were disguised, why send the bordereau? 
Rather than go out of my way to run unnecessary risk 
and do unnecessary work on a ''gabarit/^ I should al- 
most choose not to be a traitor at all. 



If a prisoner in England were stated to have made a 
confession of guilt sandwiched between two energetic 
protestations of innocence; if he had at no other time 
made anything even distantly resembling a confession ; 
if the supposed confession rested on the testimony of 
only one living witness; if that witness had sometimes 
asserted and sometimes denied the statement he came 
into court to support ; if the confession had not been 
made public for over two years from the time it was 
said to have been made; if the witness to it acknowl- 
edged that, having made a note of the words used 
some thirty hours after the event, he had kept it three 
years and then suddenly destroyed it, at the moment 
when it became public property; if, finally, the pris- 
oner, knowing nothing of the fact that the alleged con- 
fession had been published, had been interrogated on 
the subject, and had quoted his expression in words 
which almost exactly coincided with the alleged con- 
fession, yet meant something absolutely different and 
contradictory — what would an English judge say to 
such a confession? 

You do not need me to tell you. The English judge 
would refuse to hear another word of it. But the 
French, in perfect good faith, look at confessions in 
quite a different way. Our justice aims at proving a 
man did a thing; that of France at inducing him to say 
he did it. The whole duty of a juge d' instruction — all 
the brow-beating cross-examination that is volleyed 
from the bench at a French prisoner, and which seems 
to us so contrary to the spirit of justice — is founded on 



the theory that the best, even the only satisfactory, 
proof of guilt is the confession of the accused. "Has 
he confessed?" is the Frenchman's first questipn when 
he hears a man is arrested. And, having been brought 
up in the belief that confession is the first duty of a 
criminal, he usually has. 

Therefore this alleged confession of Dreyfus, half an 
hour before his degradation, to Lebrun-Renault, the 
captain of gendarmes who was on guard over him, has 
been considered of capital importance by most French- 
men. Some of the principal witnesses in this very 
trial said that they placed it first among the evidences 
of guilt. It was first made public by M. Cavaignac in 
the Chamber in 1898, and was ordered to be posted up 
in every commune in France. Lebrun-Renault leaped 
in a day from nothingness to universal fame. 

On the last day of August we began the public sit- 
ting late; the Court had sat with closed doors to con- 
sider technical and very secret questions of artillery. 
Nobody quite knew who would be the first witness in 
the public part of the sitting. A man was fetched in by 
the usher in a dark uniform ; as he went up to the bar 
I noticed that he wore a shinv black belt, unlike an of- 
ficer, just like a gendarme. He was a big, beefy man 
with a big, ruddy, square-cheeked face and a very big 
moustache; he had the air of being strong but not well 
knit — power without the activity to apply it. He sa- 
luted the Court with a tremendous flourish, and I said 
to myself that he looked very much less like a soldier 
than a policeman. Next instant, in an abrupt voice 
as big as himself, he announced his name — Lebrun- 

He gave his evidence like a policeman — like a po- 



liceman who has light-heartedly given evidence against 
a prisoner on what he thought a matter of forty shil- 
lings or a week, and then finds himself before the 
House of Lords. He told his story simply, unhesitat- 
ingly and very loudly; but his words came out in jerky 
mouthfuls that seemed to suggest nervousness. To 
my mind he was quite sure he was telling the truth, but 
was a little frightened of the enormous importance 
that had suddenly fallen upon him. You can judge of 
his simple nature when he said: "I spoke to him of 
New Caledonia, which I knew, and where I thought he 
might be sent ; in short, I behaved to Captain Dreyfus 
with all possible humanity.'' But when it came to 
cross-examination he resolutely refused to be drawn. 
Before the Cour de Cassation he had said, in his beefy, 
unjudicial way, "The declarations of Dreyfus can quite 
well be considered as not a confession ;" it was plain to 
the eye that Lebrun-Renault was perfectly ready from 
day to day to consider anything as either itself or its 
opposite. To-day, however, he was more wary. "Con- 
sider it what you like,'^ he said with breezy tolerance. 
"Some may consider it a confession, others an explana- 
tion of his conduct. That is every man's own affair. 
I give no opinion. I only judge the fact. Dreyfus 
said so and so to me; that's all." He did indeed ex- 
plain his own conduct in one particular: General Mer- 
cier sent him to tell the President of the confession 
next day, but he did not do so because he overheard 
somebody in Casimir-Perier's room speaking rudely of 
him. With this one exception Lebrun-Renault told 
his story, but bluntly declined to do any thinking about 
it. Thinking, he all but admitted, was not his strong 



However, Lebrun-Renault's statement was not all. 
He said that there was also in the room at the time a 
Captain d'Attel, who is now dead. So next, in the 
French manner, we had a captain to swear that d'Attel 
told him he had heard Dreyfus confess, and then a lieu- 
tenant-colonel to swear that Lebrun-Renault told him 
he had heard Dreyfus confess, and then a major to 
swear that the captain had told him that d'Attel had 
told him that Dreyfus had confessed, and then a first- 
class controller to swear that the lieutenant-colonel had 
told him that Lebrun-Renault had told him that 
Dreyfus had confessed. I was waiting to hear myself 
called on to swear I had heard the controller tell the 
Court that the lieutenant-colonel told him Lebrun- 
Renault told him Dreyfus had told him he delivered 
documents, when I heard General Gonse admitting 
that when challenged by Picquart as to the guilt of 
Dreyfus he said nothing about the alleged confessions. 
Presently came on a retired Major — Forzinetti, by the 
same token, who was governor of the Cherche-Midi 
prison while Dreyfus was there, and lost his post for 
proclaiming a belief in his innocence. He said, first, 
that he knew d'Attell well, and was sure from his char- 
acter that if he had heard Dreyfus confess he would 
have said so in his private conversation, and also would 
have reported the fact officially, whereas, in fact, he 
had done neither. Second, said Forzinetti, Lebrun- 
Renault had told him that Dreyfus made no confession, 
and that he had said as much to General Mercier at 
the time. This Lebrun-Renault admitted quite cheer- 
fully, but said he denied the confession under orders 
from his superiors. And now you are as fit as I am to 
form an opinion whether Dreyfus confessed or not. 



It is just another of the hopeless mazes of discrep- 
ancy and contradiction which make you despair of 
human certitude and human veracity, and especially of 
getting to the bottom of the Dreyfus case. And there 
have been two or three other speeches attributed to 
Dreyfus which mystify the mystery still further. One 
of his guards deposed before the Cour de Cassation 
that he heard Dreyfus say — "As for being guilty, I am 
guilty, but I am not the only one." He was answered, 
"Then why do you not give the names you know?'' 
Whereto Dreyfus is said to have replied, 'They will be 
known in two or three years." This tale was discred- 
ited at the time and was not repeated at Rennes. In 
prison he is said to have begged that he might be 
taken away for a year under police surveillance while 
the aflfair was more thoroughly investigated. And he 
is said to have said before several witnesses, "In three 
years I shall return and justice will be done me." Tak- 
ing all these things together, the haunting doubt floats 
down on you again; what is there, you ask yourself, 
that is at the bottom of all this but will not come up? 
Were there accomplices in the War Office, who prom- 
ised the scapegoat that he should be sacrificed only for 
three years — and then broke their promise for their 
own greater safety, knowing that Dreyfus could never 
accuse them without doubly damning himself? 

Or else there are two other suppositions. One is 
that Lebrun-Renault honestly mistook something he 
really heard. His reports of the words have not been 
precisely consistent. But before the Cour de Cassa- 
tion he quoted Dreyfus thus: 'T am innocent. In 
diree years my innocence will be recognized. The 
Minister knows it, and a few days ago Major Du Paty 



de Clam came to see me in my cell and said that the 
Minister knew it. The Minister knew that if I had"^ 
delivered documents to Germany they were of no im- 
portance, and that it was to get more important ones 
in exchange." Dreyfus, interrogated on Devil's Isl- 
and eleven days later, and not knowing the text of this 
evidence, said his words were: ''The Minister knows 
well that I am innocent. He sent Du Paty de Clam to 
me to ask if I had not given up some unimportant doc- 
uments to get others in exchange for them. I 
answered no." If you cut out of Lebrun-Renault's 
version the repeated words, "the Minister knew it," and 
the full stop, you get Dreyfus' version almost word for 
word. On this showing it does look very much as if 
the gendarme really misunderstood words which Drey- 
fus really did use. 

The other supposition is less agreeable. The ru- 
mour of a confession having got into the Paris papers, 
always hospitable to the wildest and most unauthenti- 
cated tale, Generals Mercier and Gonse sought out Le- 
brun-Renault next day, and persuaded him by bribes 
or threats, or simply by clearly insinuating ideas into 
his bovine head, to say that Dreyfus confessed. He 
was too afraid of his new story to repeat it to the Pres- 
ident, but having written it down — this after he had 
seen the generals, mark you — gained confidence. There- 
after he talked of the confession at large, sometimes 
affirming and sometimes denying it, according to the 
fancy of the moment. But whenever there was a trial 

* M. Cavaignac's version, copied from Lebrun-Renault's 
note-book, and Lebrun-Renault's own deposition at Rennes, 
say instead of "had" "have." 


concerned with the Dreyfus case, the generals always 
brought him up to the scratch to affirm again. 

You will say that it is too cynical to hold this second 
view when it is possible to hold the first. Perhaps. 
Yet the truth is that Alercier and Gonse have com- 
mitted and admitted in court so many acts of scoun- 
drelism that I believe them to be — like Habbakuk, 
whom Gonse resembles personally — capable of any- 



Summer passed into autumn. The mornings nipped, 
the evenings dripped, and the leaves were yellowing; 
and still the Dreyfus case went on. Presently Indian 
summer came in on autumn — the sultriest, steam- 
ingest days we had known even in sultr}^ Rennes; still 
the Dreyfus case went on. But even the Dreyfus case 
was yellowing, too. A few days more would see the 
last of it, and, with a tightening of the heart, men be- 
gan to reckon the chances. 

Many thousands of words have been shed in vain 
if you do not understand by now that the trial of Drey- 
fus was not in the very least like a trial in England. 
To begin with, there were the two trials going on at 
the same time in alternate chains, like M. Bertillon's 
gabarit — the Dreyfus case and the Esterhazy case. If 
one was proved guilty — which, in the first days of Sep- 
tember, neither had been — the other was automatically 
acquitted. Then there were the tributaries of the main 
stream — the Picquart, Henry, Du Paty de Clam, and 
Mercier cases. But for the last week — thanks largely 
to the efforts of M. le President — we had left these 
almost entirely aside. We were gripping ourselves for 
the finish upon the Dreyfus-Esterhazy case. 

For another point of dissimilarity to England, the 
defence had been going on more or less all the time 
parallel to the prosecution. We had Bertulus and 
Picquart for, sandwiched between Roget and Cuignet 
against. Freystaetter cropped up in the middle of the 



handwriting experts, and the experts themselves came 
in alternate layers of for and against. 

The experts, indeed, were the point of transition 
from attack to defence. Up to them the witnesses 
had mostly accused; after them began the defence 
proper. It also was mixed up with stray witnesses for 
the prosecution, who had somehow got shuffled into 
the wrong pack. But the five main divisions of the 
prosecution — the secret documents, the presumptions 
supplied by the bordereau, the personal demeanour of 
Dreyfus on the General Staff, the handwriting of the 
bordereau, and the alleged confession — had been all 
finally presented; and by September 6th we were at 
the end of the testimony that had been presented to 
rebut them. 

This period of the defence was a duel between two 
men — Roget and Labori. Mercier and Gonse had 
been badly discredited, Picquart was almost silent on 
the other side; Roget and Labori fought out the case 
to the finish. Roget was in truth playing advocate 
for the prosecution just as the other was for the de- 
fence. He had not been concerned even indirectly 
with any of the half-dozen branches of the afifair; nom- 
inally a witness, he was there simply and solely to 
plead the cause of the generals. It was impossible 
not to admire the spirit, resolve and cleverness with 
which he fought the case. He was quite as good as 
a good lawyer. At every moment when the defence 
seemed to be scoring, his grey-white head rose out 
of the witnesses' seats with, 'T ask to be heard." Every 
witness that seemed Hkely to weigh he countervailed 
with one of his own. Labori cross-examined him; but 
he had no vulnerable point to assist attack, and Labori 



did little with him. He was never disconcerted; for 
every occasion he had a denial or a distinction, a re- 
partee or a quibble, a gibe or a lie. 

And yet to observers hitherto unprejudiced the only 
effect of Roget was to inspire a fierce partisanship for 
Dreyfus. The French admired Roget — his elastic if 
fleshy form, his ready smile and jest for the reporters, 
his elaborately graceful attitude on the platform, his 
turn to the audience after each hit, the bully's face 
thrust right into his opponent's with a sneer or an in- 
sult. To the stolider Anglo-Saxon all this was mere 
mummery; what they saw and detested was that Roget 
was obviously on the make. He was doing his ut- 
most to destroy Dreyfus, not to save himself like the 
others, but to make himself. He, who stood only to 
win, was a bitterer foe to the broken prisoner than 
the men who stood to lose their all. From Dreyfus's 
second living grave he hoped to rise Governor of 
Paris, Minister of War, perhaps President, perhaps — 
who knows? — higher yet. Such would have been a 
dishonourable ladder to fortune for anybody. For a 
soldier, of all men, to elect to make his career out of 
a medley of politics, law, diplomacy, intrigue and 
crime like the Dreyfus case, was almost too despicable 
to be worth despising. 

But Roget, however you might hate him, was put- 
ting in good work for his side; Dreyfusards were not 
quite so sure of Labori. They thought he irritated 
the Court unnecessarily; also that he would have done 
better to stick to the points that bore directly on Drey- 
fus, as Demange did, instead of fighting the complex 
cases that have risen out of them. Labori was acting 
for Picquart quite as much as for Dreyfus; it was 



said — I know not whether truly or not — that he was 
actually briefed by Picquart, in which case it was of 
course his duty to plead for the man who paid him. 
You remember that Labori had been especially con- 
cerned with the later developments of the case; he had 
never so much as set eyes on Dreyfus till he saw him 
in the prison of Rennes. It must be said too that the 
line between Dreyfus and Picquart was not easy to 
draw. The judges were evidently taking no interest 
at all in Picquart's case, and not very much in Ester- 
hazy's. Dreyfus was the man they had to try, and 
they pined to confine the case to him. But whenever 
the President objected to a question of Labori's, it 
was comparatively easy for the lawyer to show that 
the charges against Picquart were used to invalidate 
his evidence against Esterhazy, which in turn was 
legitimately used on behalf of Dreyfus. It was diffi- 
cult to draw the line, and Labori was able in the last 
days of the evidence to deal some resounding thwacks 
to Picquart's enemies. General Gonse he reduced to 
pulp. That decrepit model of Aapoleon III. trembled 
visibly ever}^ time he was called up to the bar; his 
voice deserted him; he owned to dishonesty after dis- 
honesty committed to keep Dreyfus in prison and 
Esterhazy free; in the end his very protestations of 
good faith became only a matter of form. This was 
efifective politically, but legally it was futile, since 
Gonse had nothing to do with the Dreyfus case 
proper. But from General Zurlinden, on September 
6th, Labori won a most important admission: no less 
than that the General did not believe that Picquart 
forged the petit bleu — the more significant in that it 
was Zurlinden who arrested him on that charge. 



The same day — the 6th — General Billot, emerging 
from slumber and hearing his name mentioned, trotted 
up onto the platform and delivered a short speech in 
defence of his action while Minister of War. He 
seemed, as always, thoroughly sincere, and moved 
to alternate rage and tears. Touching in the course 
of his remarks on the Dreyfus case, he incidentally 
threw out a suggestion that Dreyfus and Esterhazy 
might be accomplices in treason. He meant nothing 
by it — the worthy, kindly old man never means any- 
thing by anything — but in a second the whole court 
was in a tumult. Labori sprang up baying. Dreyfus 
sprang up livid, his snarl swelling to a howl. ^'I pro- 
test against this infamous assertion," he cried. 
*'Maitre Labori, be moderate," said the President. "I 
am moderate," roared Labori. "Your voice is not." 
*T am not master of my voice." "Everybody is master 
of his own person." Retort struck fire on retort. The 
President's "sit down" came like rifle cracks; Labori's 
"I will; but first I say " like artillery. The Presi- 
dent half rose and threatened with his white-gloved 
hand; Labori stood up and flung his arms wide, the 
eyes under his shaggy brows were lightning, and out 
of his deep chest crashed thunder. And then Labori 
said what he wanted to say. The storm sank more 
suddenly than it had burst; only the cheers and groans 
of its echoes were left reverberating among the audi- 

Such contests — this was only a little louder than 
what happened every day — filled the enemies of Drey- 
fus with indignation and his friends with nervousness. 
Of these, some said Labori was over-impetuous, some 
that the President was unfair. I thought both were 



wrong. As a matter of fact, the questions of Labori 
which Jouaust refused to put were generally such as 
did not need putting — rhetorical points which, as 
Labori himself said often enough, had done their 
work as soon as he uttered them. It was absurd to 
expect the Colonel to ask a General how he reconciled 
it with his conscience to do this or that. The Colonel 
would have been abused for life for sitting by and 
allowing the army to be insulted; and it would have 
done Labori no good, for a French general can rec- 
oncile it with his conscience to do anything. After all, 
though the scenes looked terrible, I do not think either 
President or advocate took them to heart. It looked 
most grave; either Jouaust, you would say, must have 
been cashiered or Labori disbarred. In realitv it was 
all in the day's work to both of them. 

But we must get back to the evidence — and now 
for the balance. Was it guilty or not guilty? The 
five parts of the case had been presented by the de- 
fence in the reverse order of their presentation by the 
attack. The confession and the experts came in the 
middle. Of Captain Lebrun-Renault and his suppor- 
ters and their assertions and their admissions you have 
heard enough already. On the whole, that part of the 
case may be held to have cancelled itself out; cer- 
tainly Lebrun-Renault was not unshaken enough nor 
even sure enough of himself to send Dreyfus back to 
Devil's Island. The experts cancelled themselves out 
likewise. M. Bertillon made a great impression: his 
system is far too neat and superficially logical not to 
impress Frenchmen. But the counter-Bertillons — 
Paraf Javal and Bernard, who denied his theories and 
disputed his measurements — had their effect too. 



And of the handwriting experts proper — not that they 
matter much — the defence seemed to have the best 
authenticated. All these experts, except the obviously 
imbecile or utterly inaudible, were listened to with 
such attention by the judges that I think they also can- 
not but have cancelled each other out and left a net 
result of nothing. 

The third branch of the accusation rested on the 
personal demeanour of Dreyfus. Almost every officer 
who was on the General Staff with him agreed that 
he was obsequious to his superiors- bumptious to his 
equals, greedy of information that might turn to his 
personal advantage, but inclined to shirk labours for 
whose results he could sponge on others without 
trouble to himself. The defence had not tried to dis- 
pute this character ; probably it is a true one ; but with 
an intelligent and impartial Court it does not spell 
high treason. 

The only relevant part of this branch of the evidence 
was that which charged Dreyfus with perpetually 
sneaking about the office in the wrong rooms and the 
wrong hours with a view to picking up secrets that did 
not concern him. To meet this, the defence produced, 
on September ist, an officer of artillery named Major 
Ducros. He was engaged in the invention of a gun 
between 1891 and 1894, and was acquainted with an- 
other new and especially confidential gun, which was 
adopted by the French army. He knew Dreyfus, and 
appears to have been the only man who liked him. 
Several times he asked him to breakfast with a view 
to telling him all he knew. For a man who was sell- 
ing artillery secrets this information would have been 
priceless; yet Dreyfus never came to breakfast, and 



never accepted the offers of information about the 

The next point was to get back to the bordereau. 
The endeavour of the early witnesses for the prosecu- 
tion — Mercier, Cavaignac, Roget — had been to show 
that Dreyfus alone was in a position to betray the 
secrets indicated in it; that Esterhazy certainly was not. 
In general, you may say that the tendency of the gen- 
erals was to magnify the importance of the informa- 
tion betrayed, that of Picquart and Labori to water it 
down to what might be picked up by a major of in- 
fantry at a school of field-firing. Another point was 
to show that the language of the bordereau was tech- 
nically incorrect, and therefore more applicable to 
Esterhazy than to Dreyfus. Accordingly for two days 
we fought our way through a jungle of artillery ex- 
perts. The prosecution had a general of the name of 
Deloye — a gentleman with a long white beard that 
made him out a cross between Michael Angelo's 
Moses and a he-goat — who took two hours of closed 
doors to expound to the Council the innermost secrets 
of the hydro-pneumatic brake of the 120-millimetre 
short field gun. On the other side was a major of the 
name of Hartmann — a big, chubby-faced man with 
almost the finest moustache of the trial — who deposed 
at prodigious length, sometimes with open doors, 
sometimes with closed, on hydro-pneumatic brakes. 
The major, as does sometimes happen, appeared to 
know the subject far better than his general. The 
conclusion he came to was that if the traitor of the 
bordereau gave away detailed information, he must 
have been one of a very small number of officers em- 
ployed either in the foundries or the office of the Di- 



rector-General of Artillery; of which officers Dreyfus 
was not one. If the information was general, it was 
accessible to any officer of any arm who attended the 
manoeuvres of 1894 at Chalons even for one day; of 
which officers Esterhazy was one. 

For all that, the case against Esterhazy could hardly 
be called flourishing. Several journalists — among 
them an Englishman, Mr. Strong — proved that Ester- 
hazy had made confessions, for newspaper purposes, 
of having written the bordereau. But in every case he 
had carefully added that he did it at the order of 
Colonel Sandherr, and that Dreyfus really did betray 
the documents mentioned in it. This theory was so 
equally embarrassing to attack and defence that each 
believed as much of it as suited them, and the judges, 
I fancy, none of it. Then there was a Jewish lieutenant 
of artillery — one Bernheim — who swore that Ester- 
hazy, whom he hardly knew, had borrowed a range- 
finder from him and, though often asked for it, had 
never returned it. More to the point was a fact which 
arose on the 6th, from an apparently rambling cross- 
examination by Labori about the petit bleu: that Count 
Miinster had written to M. Delcasse in April this year, 
stating that Schwarzkoppen avowed he had sent a 
number of express letter-cards to Esterhazy, and the 
one intercepted might very probably be by him. That 
was as near proof of Esterhazy's treason as we could 
expect to get without Schwarzkoppen himself at the 

On the whole, you might say that attack and de- 
fence — leaving aside the secret dossier, which could 
not be very conclusive either way, or we should have 
heard more of it by now — ^were pretty evenly balanced. 



Both sides had tried to make out much the same case 
on very similar evidence; and — if we rule out diplo- 
matic evidence on the admitted French principle that 
all diplomatists always lie — neither Dreyfus nor Ester- 
hazy had so far been proved guilty. An even balance 
ought to mean acquittal — only with seven French offi- 
cers, who had probably made, and rightly made, Drey- 
fus's guilt an article of faith for five years, for whom 
Dreyfus's guilt stood till almost yesterday as a sign 
of trust in their legitimate chiefs, who had perhaps 
lost friends for the guilt of Dreyfus, whose moral and 
intellectual self-respect might almost depend on the 
guilt of Dreyfus — what of them? It was asking some- 
thing of them to cast out the passions of years at the 
bidding of an academic benefit of the doubt. 

The Dreyfusards had hoped — against reason, it 
seems to me — for some providential intervention that 
would make the prisoner's innocence clear beyond 
doubt or cavil. It had not come. 

And then, at the very end of Saturday's evidence, 
came up a completely average young Frenchman — 
open face, dark moustache, voluminous morning coat 
and light trousers — who began to lisp rapidly evidence 
about the bordereau and the manoeuvres. He gave the 
name of Captain de Fond-Lamothe : nobody had ever 
heard it before; he had never appeared in any of the 
previous Dreyfus cases; nobody knew who he was. 
He explained that he was now an engineer, but that 
he had been with Dreyfus through the two years' 
course on the General Staff. "I love the army," he 
said, ^'and I have a brother in garrison here at Rennes. 
But it is my duty to say that the bordereau cannot be 
by any General Staff officer of Dreyfus's year. If it 



was written in April, he could not have had the firing 
manual. If it was written in August, he could not 
have concluded, 'I am just going to the manoeuvres.' 
For every one of us knew in May that we were not go- 
ing to the manoeuvres. Here is a circular distributed 
to us on May 17th that proves it. I beg that it be 
read." It was read. Dreyfusards glowed; anti-Drey- 
fusards went pale. 

''And that,'' said M. de Fond-Lamothe, lisping with 
terrific energy, "knocks the bottom out of the accusa- 

And it did. Five generals hurried up to confute 
him, but not even Roget could hector him out of his 
syllogism. There was the circular; could anybody 
dispute it? Dreyfus had the circular; therefore he 
knew he was not going to the manoeuvres; therefore 
he did not write the bordereau. 

True, the undefeated Roget, after sleeping three 
nights on it, did come up with an answer. It was 
quite true, he said, that the circular made it certain 
that officers in Dreyfus's position could not go to the 
manoeuvres, as hitherto, with a regiment; but they 
might go on a stafif. As a matter of fact, he admitted, 
none did go, but that was because the General Staflf 
office in Paris happened to be busy at the moment. 
Next day he produced a Major Hirschauer, who had 
been on the General Staff at the time — there seemed 
to be an inexhaustible number of such ready to swear 
to anything — who swore that Dreyfus was very 
anxious to go to the manoeuvres. Dreyfus retorted 
that he certainly would have liked to go, but never 
asked to ; and Picquart, his chief at the time, bore him 
out. Further, Dreyfus added very cogently the writer 



of the bordereau says, "I am just starting," not "I may 
soon start," or "I hope to start." The writer was cer- 
tain of it, whereas he himself admittedly was not and 
could not be. 

If he had only been as ready and as candid always, 
his chances would have looked very bright at this 
moment; but he was not always. 

There was no getting over it: Dreyfus did not give 
the eflfect of a frank man. One day he made a particu- 
larly poor impression. The charge against him — do 
not laugh; it was serious for him — was a character- 
istically shaky one of M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire's, 
that he had followed German manoeuvres about Miihl- 
hausen. He had subsequently made this a subject for 
swagger, as was alleged, to one of his comrades. If 
he had said, "Yes, I was riding out near Miihlhausen 
and saw German regiments manoeuvring. I stopped 
to look at them. Would not any of you, gentlemen, 
have done the same?" it would have been nothing at 
all. Instead of that he paused, hesitated, stammered, 
asked to have a question repeated that was audible all 
down the hall. First he denied; then he qualified. 
First he said he had been present at no manoeuvres; 
then that he may possibly have seen German regi- 
ments manoeuvring; but that this was not, properly 
speaking, manoeuvres. He felt that he was sur- 
rounded by people who would make the most of any- 
thing he admitted; and so he did not admit anything. 
He was afraid to tell the simple, innocent truth. 



Great events from little causes spring. The little 
cause was a young gentleman giving the name of 
Cernuschi. He described himself as an ex-officer of 
Austrian cavalry and a descendant of a Servian royal 
family; but he looked more like a Viennese waiter. He 
approached the judges with a bob like the bow of a 
jointed doll, and indicated that, not speaking French 
very well, he had, with the assistance of his wife, 
written on a piece of paper what he knew of the treason 
of Dreyfus. His knowledge appeared to be compre- 
hensive but vague. He knew an official in a foreign 
embassy in France. This gentleman had warned him 
as a political refugee — such was Cernuschi's present 
profession — that Dreyfus might betray him to a for- 
eign Power. This conformed with information he had 
received from a foreign officer, once near the person 
of his sovereign, but now engaged as a spy. He had 
also seen at this officer's hotel numerous plans and 
other confidential French military papers. The spy 
had freely shown him these, with the remark, "Why 
have Jews unless you use them?" He begged to be 
allowed to name no names. 

Such was the simple story of Cernuschi. He might 
have added that he had been put under restraint and 
dismissed the Austrian service for insanity, had been 
put under restraint at Zurich for the same reason, had 
abandoned his twin children at Caen, had swindled 
numerous people in Alenqon, was in debt everywhere, 
and had been sold up — facts which came pouring into 



court in streams, and which would have materially 
increased the interest of his deposition. Three days 
afterwards he was ill and unable to attend for public 
examination; altogether he was not a happy effort of 
M. de Beaurepaire's. 

But the consequences of M. Cernuschi seemed for 
the moment overwhelming. Labori was crouching 
over his desk ready for a spring. ''As the other side," 
said he, "has not hesitated to call in foreign testimony, 
from which we have always abstained, I shall ask the 
Court to find out by diplomatic channels whether the 
documents of the bordereau were given up, and to 
whom." He was not correct, for Mr. Strong had al- 
ready given evidence tending to Dreyfus's innocence, 
and the objection was rather to foreign official tes- 
timony than to foreign testimony as such. None the 
less, that afternoon Labori telegraphed to the German 
Emperor and the King of Italy, begging them to allow 
Schwarzkoppen and Panizzardi to come and give evi- 
dence at Rennes. 

In an hour the whole case was once more turned 
topsy-turvy. Schwarzkoppen was the one man who 
not only knew the truth but whom everybody knew to 
know it. With Schwarzkoppen at the bar the trial 
would begin all over again from a fresh point. It was 
the Dreyfus case all over, that just when it was in sight 
of its end, after twenty-seven days of evidence, a wit- 
ness should be invoked who would make every word 
yet spoken not only stale, which it notoriously was 
already, but also irrelevant. For a couple of days the 
Dreyfus af¥air was in the melting-pot. Nobody knew 
when it would end now, still less how. If Schwarz- 
koppen did not come, Labori's appeal might look 



uglily like the drowning man clutching at a straw. If 
he came he would of course declare positively for 
Dreyfus as he had already done diplomatically; but 
would he be believed? For this would be evidence 
"from those," as some of the ofricers were always say- 
ing, ''whose interest it is to deceive us," What pre- 
cisely was the interest of von Miinster and von 
Schwarzkoppen in getting Dreyfus oflf, they never ex- 
plained. "It is setting the receiver of stolen goods to 
catch the thief," they aphorized; but they forgot to 
mention that the receiver had retired from business, 
and that neither of the two suspected thieves could 
ever steal again, Dreyfus acquitted could never be of 
any use to Germany. But the accusers — well knowing 
that official foreign testimony alone could irrefutably 
demonstrate the innocence of Dreyfus= — lost no chance 
of insisting that all foreign testimony was, as such, 
suspect, misleading, worse than useless. 

But we were spared that difficulty, and spared with 
it the prolongation of the weary trial. Maitre Labori 
received unofficial news on the 7th that neither of the 
ex-attaches could come to Rennes, but that both 
would willingly answer any questions put to them by 
a rogatory commission. Labori drew up his ques- 
tions: the last and crucial one was, "Have you ever 
had any direct or indirect relations with Captain Drey- 
fus?" The Commissary of the Government had no 
objection to their being asked. But the Court found 
it had no competence to order such a commission; the 
summoning of testimony depended solely on the dis- 
cretionary power of the President. And Colonel 
Jouaust firmly declined to summon that of Schwarz- 



Here was another turn of the kaleidoscope. The 
case which yesterday had seemed incHned to run on till 
the Day of Judgment was suddenly all over. The 
meaning of that was plain enough. The judges had 
made up their minds. True the discretion was nomi- 
nally the President's alone; but even if two or three 
of the judges had been strongly in favour of getting 
Schwarzkoppen's evidence, Jouaust could hardly have 
refused. Conviction seemed the only ground of the 
Council's action: men of their broad intelligence — I 
am saying exactly what most of us thought at the 
time — could hardly have been taken in by the simile 
about the receiver and the thief. Dreyfus was either 
lost or saved — only which? For my part — I admit it, 
though you know how wrong I was — I thought it 
looked uncommonly like salvation. The judges had 
seen in Colonel Maurel the pitiful consequences of a 
hasty and unconscientious judgment in such a case: 
would they risk the same consequences for themselves? 
Moral courage is not the most plenteous of French 
virtues: if these seven were going to take the conse- 
quences of ignoring such vital testimony on the pris- 
oner's side, they must either have resolved to acquit 
him anyhow or else be the boldest and the most 
shameless men in France. 

One way or another it was done, and the case 
swooped to its end. Before we knew, the last scraps 
of evidence had been swept up and the Commissary 
of the Government had begun his speech. As he rose, 
the officers in the witnesses' seats rose too. The Min- 
ister of War had ordered them to leave Rennes as soon 
as the speeches began. Generals first, colonels, ma- 
jors, captains, subalterns, the crimson and gold lace 



streamed out of the hall. There remained nothing 
military but the judges and their substitutes on the 
dais, and the peasant boys on guard at the bottom of 
the hall. The army as politics and faction was gone; 
the place was left clear to the army as justice and order. 
Then spoke up the Commissary of the Government. 
Mr. Commissary Carriere had up to now been nothing 
in the trial but an element of humour. He is a retired 
major of the age, I think, of sixty-six, and he is a law 
student of the University of Rennes. That sums him 
up fairly well — the conscience that impels him to fit 
himself for the official position he has retired into, the 
mediocre head that makes it necessary. This same 
head of his was the most extraordinary thing in court; 
the skull was almost exactly of the shape of a horse's. 
An old, worn, slightly vicious, very willing horse he 
looked with his flat forehead, beaky nose, sparse grey 
hair, big grey moustache, and peering eyes hidden by 
glasses. He had taken hardly any part in the trial — 
had never asked a single question, I think, of a single 
witness. He had displayed a laudable desire to facili- 
tate any investigation that was suggested, a pro- 
nounced distrust of Labori and a good deal of uncon- 
scious humour. When Labori had suggested an 
adjournment to get Schwarzkoppen's evidence, he 
said, 'T freely consent if it will not take too long. But 
if it means that we are to begin these debates all over 
again, then I answer No, no, no!" Another day he 
said testily, "I think it very hard that while the defence 
is allowed to speak whenever it likes, I, the Commis- 
sary of the Government, am refused a hearing." **Be- 
cause you always ask to speak when everybody else is 
speaking," replied Jouaust swiftly, and added to the 



resultant laughter a discreet smile of his own. They 
had sat on court martials together before; and I am 
afraid that the one man to whom the Court paid no 
attention at all was Major Carriere. And it surely was 
the unkindest stroke of fate that flickered this honest, 
dull, rather inflated, very conscientious gentleman 
right into the very middle of the Dreyfus case. 

He is endowed with a thin voice, slightly cracked; he 
speaks slowly, but with prodigious emphasis, and hurls 
his emphasis impartially on every word, as if all that 
comes out of his mouth is to be considered equally pre- 
cious. Therewith he gesticulates most elaborately; if 
the word does not give time for the gesture he leaves 
off speaking till it is successfully finished. He looks 
as if he were performing, very methodically, very 
conscientiously, a new sort of sword exercise, with 
which his words are only used to mark time; he 
finishes almost every sentence straight from the shoul- 
der with a tremendous lunge in tierce. 

You would have said from his record that his 
speech would be ludicrously feeble; but it was not. So 
far as you can sum up the evidence of over a hundred 
and thirty hours in an hour and a half, Commissary 
Carriere did it fairly well. When he felt that he did not 
know any part of the subject, or that his case was not 
very good, he passed it by. When he felt the ground 
firm under him he stamped on it. He avoided, for 
example, the hydraulic brake of the bordereau, where 
the subject was highly technical and the defence 
strong, and made his point on covering troops, which 
the defence had comparatively neglected. On the 
other hand, he saw that it would be fatal to glide over 
the crucial phrase about the manoeuvres, and insisted 



strenuously that Dreyfus and his comrades only 
learned verbally on August 28th, 1894, that they would 
not go. As for the writing, he made ingenious use of 
the numerous rough draughts that Dreyfus made of 
his letters from Devil's Island to argue he was trying 
to alter his handwriting — why? Thence he passed 
summarily — still putting his whole soul into every 
syllable^ — over the secret papers, on which it cannot 
be said that he shed much light. When he came to 
Esterhazy, he was again on surer ground. He threw 
out once more the suggestion that he may have been 
the intermediary between Dreyfus and Schwarzkop- 
pen, but flung every force of his being against the idea 
that he could be held responsible for the treason dis- 
closed by the secret papers. Thus Major Carriere 
wrestled to the end of his speech. It was a good end 
— for him — and once more you saw that no French- 
man can escape being an orator. *T began my study 
of the case with Colonel Picquart's essays on it in the 
hope — yes, the hope — of proving Dreyfus innocent. It 
would have given me happiness; it would have flat- 
tered my self-esteem to prove him innocent. My con- 
viction has been gradually transformed by this mass 
of evidence; my conviction of his guilt has been 
strengthened. On my soul and conscience, Dreyfus 
is guilty!" 

Thus ended the 7th ; on the 8th came Demange. It 
was known that he would speak all day, and I, for one, 
looked forward to it with gloom. There had been 
nothing brilliant, nothing dashing about Maitre De- 
mange. He looks exactly what he is — a plain lawyer, 
who wants to win his cases, and is quite satisfied when 
he does. He would stand as the type of lawyer any- 



where — fat, clean-shaven, ruddy-gill ed, with an ex- 
pression compounded from the vinegar of jurispru- 
dence and the sweet milk of humanity. Were he an 
English Q.C., which he might be perfectly, you would 
pronounce him at once a Bencher of his Inn and a 
judge of port. He had fought the Dreyfus case, if 
''fight" is the word, like a lawyer, Labori like a poli- 
tician — a demagogue or a tribune of the people, which- 
ever you prefer. It was said that neither quite liked 
the other's methods, though no sign of disloyalty 
came from either. As a fact, they supplemented each 
other admirably. When Labori was away, Demange 
certainly did incline to be sluggish. The evidence 
which he ignored may have been contemptible to him, 
but he allowed a mountain of prepossession to rise up 
in the minds of the judges. With Labori there to force 
the game Demange was admirable — knowing the case 
in every line, sticking rigidly to minor points, irritating 
nobody. You will see the way he conducted his case 
in one instance. The last day of the evidence General 
Mercier came up and in a sneaking way tried to dis- 
count Freystaetter's evidence by wholly inapposite 
and slanderous researches into his past. The Frey- 
staetter scene, you remember, was the most smashing 
blow, controversially, that Mercier received. But De- 
mange yielded the general his point instantly — at the 
same time maintaining his own. "No need to insist," 
he said; "we are here in 1899 to try Dreyfus on the 
evidence; what happened in 1894 is not in the least to 
the point." Nor was it. 

Demange got up, hitched up his gown, and took a 
look at the judges with the placidity of a man who 
knows his business and is just about to do it. And 


then he began his speech quite quietly. No raising 
of the voice, no gestures, no flourishes of language — 
just a plain reasonable man speaking to plain reason- 
able men. But before he had spoken two sentences 
you saw that here was a master. Not a great emotion- 
al orator — for aught I know, not a great lawyer — but a 
great pleader, a master of his business, which is to per- 
suade men. He began by saying he would make no 
exordium, which at once accredited him to the judges, 
stated with words and words and words. In five min- 
utes he was making an exordium^ — so cunningly that 
they did not know it. It was the old classical trick 
of attracting your hearers' sympathy at the outset, and 
Demange did it with supreme skill. A witness had 
said that whoever believed in the innocence of Dreyfus 
was an enemy of the army and the country. "If that 
were so," he said, and his voice was rising, "neither 
Labori nor I would be here." And then his arm began 
to move as though despite himself, and his voice began 
to swell and shake — "When I thought a moment that 
there might be danger to what I have been taught from 
childhood to respect, to honour, to love — I, a French- 
man — I, a soldier's son — well, yes, I too, suffered 
with your sufferings, and my heart beat in unison with 

He was one of the judges from that moment. Not a 
pleader for the man against whom their natural preju- 
dices revolted, but a plain honest patriot like them- 
selves, trying to see whether patriotism could not leave 
room for justice and mercy. He might henceforth 
persuade them, and he might not; but, in any case, 
they would now listen to him. He worked them up a 
moment with a glance at Devil's Island and then 



brought them down to a point of law. Here he was a 
plain man who happened to know the law just inform- 
ing plain men who might happen not to. Then he had 
them back to France and the flag, then to the agonies 
of the banished husband and father. One moment 
he had them all anxiety to learn, to understand, to 
appreciate; the next a couple of them were in tears. 
When he had them well disposed, he entered on a sur- 
vey of the evidence. Not one word did he say whereby 
the fiercest partisan against Dreyfus could be ofifended. 
He was not there to of¥end, but to persuade. Now he 
was severely logical, now slyly sarcastic, now all pity, 
now all indignation, now all common sense. His 
voice and manner changed with the subject and the 
method of treatment; one moment he was sluicing out 
words sixty miles an hour, the next hanging on every 
syllable; in seven hours — four on the 8th, three on the 
9th — he was never monotonous for a moment. He 
never let the judges out of his hand for an instant. 
They were his raw material, and he worked them, 
worked them, worked them with the zeal of an appren- 
tice and the knowldge of a master. He was not think- 
ing of Picquart, nor of Esterhazy, nor of the General 
Staff, nor of France, nor even, as a man, of the worn 
but hopeful face below him. He was thinking of the 
odd judge whom he might win over, of his case, and 
of his client. It was his business to get that client off, 
and he would do it if it could be done. 

When he finished, at eleven or so on Saturday morn- 
ing, he wrapped a huge muffler round his throat. He 
had done all that a man could do to save Dreyfus; 
but was that any reason why he should catch cold and 
lose his voice? 




**In the name of the French people . . . ." The 
hands of all the officers were at the salute, the rifles of 
the soldiers at the present. The President was dull- 
red above his white moustache, and his voice, hardly 
audible, seemed to come through a channel too small 
for it. The judges — they had been out deliberating for 
an hour and a half — stood on either hand quite still. 

The audience, standing, too, was dead silent. The 
man in front of me^ — a man with a flat forehead and a 
curious bald head, in the shape of a sugar-loaf — was 
trembling so violently that he had to hold himself up 
by the bench before him. 

'The Council of War of the Tenth District, sitting 
." — his voice is strangled: you cannot hear. 
Presently comes something — "foreign Power — war 
against France — delivering documents . . . borde- 
reau.'' That was the charge : now it is coming. Shak- 
ing hands make funnels of ears ; breath catches ; hearts 
catch and stand still. The thin voice pauses and for 
a moment is clear. 

"By five votes to two — guilty . . ." — Ah! It 
burst from every part of the hall at once, half gasp, 
half sob — the sound with which men take wounds they 
half expected. Not a single word did any man articu- 
late. Only that one choking shiver — the voice of souls 
that could find no words. 

The whisper from the stage rustled on and on, but 
nobody heard or heeded it. There was something 
about "extenuating circumstances" and "ten years," 
but nobody seemed to know or care what it was. The 



six stiff figures were still on either side of the whisper. 
The hall, black with witnesses and press, blue and 
white with gendarmes, still stood quite stark and mo- 
tionless. They were neither glad nor angry, but only 
dimly aware that it was over, and that yet somehow 
it was still going on. 

''Leave in the greatest calm. . . ." Yes, we discov- 
ered that we were leaving, and God knows we were 
calm. I looked round at my neighbours; I looked at 
the detectives; I looked at the faces of the soldiers as 
I passed; they were all calm, and even looked a little 
frightened. I turned at the door to look up the hall: 
DemangeandLabori were both in tears, which seemed 
strange; but the Commissary and the Registrar were 
still sitting moveless at their accustomed desks. Was 
it over, after all? Only before the long table of the 
judges, hiding it, stood shoulder to shoulder a close 
rank of huge gendarmes. They hid the judges alto- 
gether. Somehow that seemed quite orderly and nat- 
ural too. 

Where were the predicted storms of passion — the 
exultation of the conquerors, the curses of the de- 
feated? If the case had not been too grim for laugh- 
ing, it was comical. As we went into court that morn- 
ing, and again when the court resumed in the after- 
noon, detectives had passed their hands over every 
man to make sure he carried no arms. Inside the court 
the gendarmes stood along every wall, files of them 
split up the seated spectators, squads of them blocked 
up all the doorways. Half the audience who were not 
journalists were police in plain clothes. Outside, 
Rennes was a camp. And here were the fiercest parti- 
sans on either side trooping out like sheep — not defy- 



ing opponents, hardly speaking to friends, not even 
remembering to light cigarettes. All were stunned. 
The very men who had anticipated the verdict for 
weeks — had even named the figures and the judges 
who were to vote either way^ — were silent and stupid, 
as under the shock of something unforeseen and ap- 
palling. All were dazed, scared, stunned. 

We passed out along the familiar street, through 
the barriers of infantry, past the long lines of mounted 
gendarmes and the horsetail plumes of dragoons. It 
seemed to be the latter part of the afternoon — of a fine 
afternoon with rare gusts of dust-storm whirling under 
the clear sun of September and a tender blue sky. 
From the multitude of people — dotted over every 
square, leaning in a mile-long fringe over the railings 
of the quay, grouped at the door of every shop, choking 
up the tables of every cafe — it seemed to be a Saturday 
afternoon. We knew nothing. We had been in court 
four hours in the morning hearing Demange say again 
and again that it is not enough for justice to prove 
that an accused person may be guilty; that before he 
is condemned it should be proved he is guilty. After 
that we had been out of court three hours wondering 
— trying to believe that the court would say so too. 
We had been in court again — two hours, the watch 
said — trying to talk of something else while the judges 
were away, starting up at the first bell that spoke of 
their returning, standing still and gulping ten minutes 
— was it, or ten years? — till they came in and we heard 
'Tn the name of the French people!" 

'Tn the name of the French people!" The first be- 
ginning of natural life again was a dull, hot, unrea- 
sonable rancour against the French people — against 



calm Rennes — against the honest troopers at their 
horses' bridles — the army — the judges^ — anybody. Rea- 
son had whispered for weeks that you must allow for 
prejudice, for prepossessions honestly and even cred- 
itably come by and difficult to shake ofif, for the deli- 
cacies of the judges' positions, for the suspicious mys- 
teries of the case, for misconceptions of the attitude 
of the accused. There was every reason why it should 
be so — and it was so, and we were bitterly angry. The 
band was playing in the cafe, I remember, as I passed 
— the usual band that amuses us every evening; what 
an outrage! 

Rennes was calm. Men were tugging barges up 
the river, and women were washing clothes — just as 
they had done yesterday before this portent fell. They 
were playing cards in the cafes and cheapening bon- 
nets in the shops; I met a couple of priests and they 
did not even look exultant. It was monstrous. This 
monstrous wrong was done: a man whom most believe 
innocent, whom none can prove guilty, was coolly, 
deliberately, solemnly condemned, and condemned for 
the second time. And Rennes was calm — my God! 
Calm. Better that they had torn him to pieces with 
their hands. 

While we were beginning to rage, they were reading 
the sentence to Dreyfus. We remembered that in the 
morning Labori had handed him a telegram and he 
had smiled. When you see Dreyfus close his cheek is 
faintly ruddy — had been, at least, these last three days 
or so — and the moustache that is a black death's head 
grin at a distance, is warmly brown; the smile we no- 
ticed transmuted his haggard face to winning sweet- 
ness. Later, as Demange pleaded, we had seen him 



with his eyes glued to the faces across the table. Once 
or twice we had seen him in tears — heard him sob., 
And just before the judges left — before he went out, 
the gendarme ever behind him, to wrench his brain a 
little tighter on the rack of suspense — he had spoken 
his last word. It came up from his chest thick with 
tears, choked with anxiety, flat and toneless, yet in- 
tense, terrible, almost bestial with jarring hope and 
despair — the old cry — "Innocence ..." ''my sol- 
dier's honour ..." "five years awful torture ..." 
"convinced I shall reach port to-day. . . " "your loy- 
alty and justice." Then he turned, and with a firm 
step and a clamped, chalk-white face strode out, and 
we saw him no more. 

When the hall was emptied they formed up the 
guard before the dais and brought him in. The judges 
were gone. He faced eftward towards the Commis- 
sary of the Government and the Registrar. The last 
read out the sentence. "In the name of the French 
people . . . guilty . . . ten years' imprisonment . . „ 
military degradation." The Commissary told him he 
had twenty-four hours within which to appeal. He 
heard them in stockish silence. He uttered not one 
word. At the end he turned, and with the same firm 
step, the same clamped and chalk-white face, marched 
out, and the prison swallowed him up again. His chil- 
dren, they tell me, think papa is travelling, but are be- 
ginning to wonder why he is so long from home. "In 
the name of the French people!" 



In a way the most remarkable feature about the ver- 
dict of Rennes was the proportion of the votes. When 
it had been over a few hours, and numb brains had 
relaxed to thought again, it struck somebody that on 
the very first day the very first motion had been carried 
by five to two. The next and the next and all of them 
had been carried by five to two. Now Dreyfus was 
condemned by five to two. The idea — the staggering 
idea — dropped like a stone into the mind, and spread 
in widening circles till it filled it with conviction. 
Every one of the judges had made up his mind before 
a single word of evidence had been heard. The twenty- 
seven days, the hundred-and-something witnesses, the 
baskets of documents, the seas of sweat and tears — 
they were all utterly wasted. They might just as well 
— and it is well, then much better — never have 

The verdict was, naturally, received with a howl of 
indignation, and to endeavour to extenuate the stupid 
prejudice — that, at least, if not cowardly dishonesty — 
of the five who voted against the evidence is not likely 
to be popular with civilized readers. Yet it may be 
said of them in extenuation — if it is any extenuation — 
that they only did as almost any other five Frenchmen 
would have done in their place. Frenchmen are hyp- 
notized by the case of Dreyfus, as some people are 
hypnotized by religion; in its presence they lose all 
mental power and moral sense. 



There is no reason, therefore, to suppose that the 
majority of the Rennes court-martial were consciously 
dishonest in their verdict. I take it they started with 
the belief that Dreyfus was guilty, with the desire to 
have him proved guilty, though not with the intention 
of finding him guilty, and the trial turned out espe- 
cially propitious for a conscience of this kind. What 
ruined Dreyfus's case was the assumption made — 
probably in good faith in 1894, and made again in 
1899 — ^t the very beginning by all the generals, and, 
we may infer, by five of the judges, that the notes of 
the borderaeu were all highly important documents, 
Picquart and Hartmann saw the importance of this 
point and laboured to destroy it; but the prejudice of 
five years was too strong. Granting that these notes 
were of the first importance, it was easy to show that 
the information was inaccessible to Esterhazy, and by 
a process of exclusion among those who could get it 
the traitor was almost necessarily Dreyfus. 

The case against Esterhazy lost by the same as- 
sumption exactly what the case against Dreyfus 
gained. Indeed, the case against Esterhazy was hardly 
pushed as it should have been. To tell the truth, there 
was not too much evidence against him produced at 
Rennes, and I, for one, should have hesitated to con- 
demn him on it. The strongest part of it, excluding 
the testimony of the Germans, was the handwriting 
— and here Bertillon's specious pseudo-science was 
a god-send to the man who wanted to juggle his 
conscience into voting against Dreyfus. The con- 
fessions had the vice of being inconsistent with 
each other, and it was easy to argue that Esterhazy 
was paid to make them; if you respond, as Esterhazy 



did, that he is living at present in poverty, there is an 
answer ready enough; what sane corrupter but would 
make it a condition of his bribe that it should not be 
exposed by being prematurely enjoyed? 

Esterhazy's guilt once ruled out — and I think it was 
ruled out very early in the trial — Dreyfus's conviction 
almost certainly followed. The five judges probably, 
Jouaust almost obviously, reasoned thus: we will not 
trouble to apply our consciences to his case; now, 
Esterhazy being set aside, who can the traitor be but 
Dreyfus? Therefore, unless it is proved materially 
impossible for Dreyfus to have been the traitor, we 
conclude that Dreyfus was the traitor. It was all the 
easier to do this because Labori was the only man 
who seemed to realize the vital importance of proving 
Esterhazy guilty; Demange said in so many words 
that he cared nothing at all about Esterhazy. The 
end was that it was not proved materially impossible 
for Dreyfus to be the traitor. De Fond-Lamothe all 
but did it with his circular as to the manoeuvres — did 
do it to any reasonable mind in the absence of any 
evidence that Dreyfus asked to go — but the generals 
produced a sort of answer which just saw them 
through. They did, perhaps, just establish that it is 
not materially impossible for Dreyfus to have betrayed 
the notes of the bordereau. That was all they even pre- 
tended to do — "il a pu," "he might have," came out of 
their mouths ir answer to two questions out of three — 
but it was all they needed to do. 

The most extraordinary and indefensible step that 
Colonel Jouaust in particular, and the majority of the 
judges, took was the refusal to examine von Schwarz- 
koppen, and the determination to ignore the official 



statement in the German Reichsanzeiger that no Ger- 
man agent had ever had direct or indirect relations 
with Dreyfus. Of course, this is only another example 
of the Dreyfus-hypnotism; it seems the judges did 
after all sincerely believe in the analogy about the re- 
ceiver and the thief. But the sincerest belief in the 
world cannot excuse such wanton wickedness; rather, 
it makes it worse. For it means that five French offi- 
cers, officially presumed to be gentlemen, have been so 
worked on by the Dreyfus case and the passions it has 
engendered, that they have quite forgotten what a 
gentleman's word of honour is. They do not believe 
Schwarzkoppen nor Miinster — no, nor yet Wilhelm 
II. — on their words of honour. The only inference is 
that in a like case they would not expect to be be- 
lieved on their own. 

The finding of extenuating circumstances at first 
sight was quite fatal to the judges' good faith: what 
circumstances could extenuate the guilt of a French 
officer who betrayed the most vital secrets of France? 
But the truth appears to be that extenuating circum- 
stances are brought in in France when a considerable 
minority is for acquittal; and in this case one more 
judge for Dreyfus would have meant a verdict amount- 
ing to not proven. The two judges, therefore, who 
voted for acquittal have the satisfaction of knowing 
that even if the verdict stands, they have at least won 
for Dreyfus remission of some part of his destined 
torments. The names of those two courageous, hon- 
ourable, and clear-minded men I do not know. In a 
country like France, where to be known would only 
do them harm, I should not attempt to find out; but 
they probably will be known before this is published, 



and they are not the least of the heroes of the Dreyfus 

I have said the best I can say for the Rennes judges, 
because it is generally safer to say the best than the 
worst; yet the best is very bad. For France I am not 
sure but the hypothesis of their honest inability to 
weigh evidence about Dreyfus is not more ominous 
than dishonest and cowardly submission to the wishes 
of generals. It means that France has forgotten what 
justice is. Alfred Dreyfus has inflicted on her this 
awful retribution for his wrongs. Nothing that has 
been suffered by him — and this is the most tremendous 
irony of the whole tragedy — has gone unavenged. For 
four years a prisoner on a feverish island off the coast 
of Guiana, Dreyfus has been shaping the destinies of 
France. He has altered the laws, set up and thrown 
down governments, made and unmade men, knit close 
friendships, ripped asunder the dearest ties of blood. 
At last, like a pursuing fury, he seems about to drive 
the France that murdered him into frenzied self-de- 
struction. And, to pile irony on irony, of Alfred 
Dreyfus himself, the world, even France, would never 

* All published accounts agree that Captain Beauvais — who 
publicly shook hands with Demange after the announcement 
of the verdict — was one; the other is variously given as Major 
de Breon, Major Merle, and Captain Parfait. Of the first the 
Figaro had a pretty story that he was seen in a church the 
night before in long and urgent prayer ; therefore, for the 
credit of the Church in France, you would be glad if it were 
he. Major Merle shed tears during Demange's speech; on 
the strength of that it was said that he had been undecided till 
the last moment, was won by Demange, but was re-won by 
his superiors in the jury-room, and gave in on condition of 
the finding of extenuating circumstances. 



have heard a word had he lived to be a hundred but 
for mere chance. The jealousy of a fellow, the of- 
fence of a moment, the accident of his creed — anything 
— nothing — has turned him from an utterly obscure 
captain of artillery into the most famous name in the 

The whole affair, the whole importance and noto- 
riety of Dreyfus, was accidental and artificial. Since 
he has left the Devil's Island he has agitated France 
far less than while he was there. Indeed, when, in 
1895, M. Dupuy and General Mercier took the trouble 
to pass a special law to relegate Dreyfus to the Devil's 
Island, they did the worst day's work of their lives. 
Had he been sent in the natural course to New Cale- 
donia, it is possible that he might be there still, for- 
gotten. "Possible," I say, "because he is a Jew, and 
Jews do not readily forget or cast off their own people; 
had he been a Gentile he had almost certainly been 
forgotten in New Caledonia." 

But the chance of combining ferocity with theatrical 
display was too much for a French Ministry. The pub- 
lic degradation of Dreyfus, with its blended accom- 
paniments of imposing ceremonial and heartrending 
torture, was, after all, not too severe for the crime of 
which all Frenchmen then honestly believed him 
guilty. But the added cruelty of making a special law 
for him, sending him to a special place of banishment, 
tormenting him with every special penalty or depriva- 
tion that could make life a hell — that recoiled on its 
authors. The stage-management was too good, the 
situation was too dramatic, to be forgotten. Dreyfus 
on his own island — the very name of Devil's Island 
was a melodrama in itself — sitting in the sun within 



his palisade, in irons, asking his guards for news and 
met always with dead silence, informed — as we now 
know — that his wife had borne a child two years after 
he last saw her: who could ever get the picture of such 
a purgatory out of his head? Under the last blow a 
Frenchman would have killed himself; but the Alsa- 
tian Jew was made of stififer fibre. He lived on, and 
his countrymen, with the spectacle of that awful agony 
ever before their eyes, first exulted, then came to 
doubt, insisted, disputed, reviled, Hed, forged, fought, 
forgot friendship, kinship, party, religion, country — 
everything except the silent man in irons under the sun 
of DeviPs Island. 

But when he was brought back — ^when he was once 
more Alfred Dreyfus, captain of artillery, in the cell 
of the military prison at Rennes, charged with having 
communicated to a foreign Power documents con- 
cerning the national defence, tried on that charge be- 
fore a court-martial of his peers — then France was no 
longer haunted by him. The avenging ghost was mo- 
mentarily laid. Calm overspread the land. Many men 
had openly declared that Dreyfus ran a chance of be- 
ing shot between his point of debarkation and the 
prison of Rennes; he was not even hissed. There has 
not been a single demonstration outside his prison 
worthy of ten lines in a newspaper. And — lest you 
should put down that fact to the congenital torpor of 
Rennes — in the excitable south, in the great military 
centres, in the manufacturing centres, in volcanic Paris 
itself, Dreyfus has not been the occasion of a single 
disturbance of any significance since he was landed in 

Language remained violent enough and vile enough, 



it is true; such a furious habit of blackguarding op- 
ponents as has grown up with the Dreyfus case in 
France could hardly be stilled in a day. But every- 
body felt more at ease. From the half-indifferent, 
wholly perplexed mass of the people, when Dreyfus 
returned, went up a great ''Ouf!" of reUef. Now at 
last, said they, we shall have the truth, we shall have 
finality in this wretched affair, thereafter we shall 
have peace. And the other day, when it was over and 
he was condemned again, the ''Ouf!" went up out of 
even fuller lungs. The verdict delighted them. There 
was to be no more haunting Devil's Island, and at the 
same time the honour of the army was saved. The 
vast majority of the people of France rejoiced as after 
a great victory; and they looked forward more than 
ever with confidence to peace and harmony in France 

^t' Jt^ ^t^ «(' «i^ ^1^ *ig 

It might re-enforce that hope to consider how 
wholly irrelevant to all great material issues the Drey- 
fus case has been. At the first glance it seems that 
France has chosen to lose her head over a matter 
which she might just as well have let alone, which 
is over now, and has left her where she was before. 
Whether Dreyfus or Esterhazy betrayed documents, 
or both, or neither, it is certain that no other French 
ofHcer will be tempted to do the same for years enough 
to come. Even if wrong has been done — if the inno- 
cent has been punished and the guilty has gone free, 
after all, it is only one man. And it is expedient that 
one man should suffer for the whole people. 

So argued, and would argue again, more than half 
of France. And just because they argue thus, they 



are utterly and fatally wrong. It may be expedient 
to sacrifice one man for a country — ^when the detec- 
tion of sacrifice and of expediency is left to others. 
But when the country argues thus itself, when it sacri- 
fices the innocent one with its eyes open, then the 
sacrifice is not expedient, but ruinous. It is this truth 
that Picquart saw and proclaimed three years ago. 
When Dreyfus was first condemned, it is probable that 
everybody concerned, even Du Paty de Clam, who ex- 
amined him, and Mercier, who procured his convic- 
tion, honestly believed him guilty. But from the mo- 
ment the people suspected his innocence and still let 
him suffer — from that moment began the convulsion, 
the dissensions, the moral putrefaction, and all the rest 
of the discovered distempers of France. 

It was known in widening circles, first to a few sol- 
diers, then to journalists and politicians, then to every- 
body who cared to be convinced to-day — to everybody 
with ears to hear that Dreyfus, if not innocent, had 
not yet been proved guilty. In the face of that knowl- 
edge France still howls, "Let him suffer!" It is at 
once the grimmest and grotesquest spectacle in his- 
tory — a whole nation, knowing that justice has not 
been done, keenly excited about the question, and 
yet not caring a sou whether justice is done or not. 
What matter, cries France, whether he is justly con- 
demned or not? Shoot him rather than discredit the 
army. And even of the minority — of the Dreyfusards 
that exclaim against his mart3Tdom and prepare to 
show that the verdict of Rennes has brought not peace 
but a sword — who shall say how few care for doing 
justice to a man who is innocent, and how many give 
tongue merely because they hate the army, or the 



Roman Church, or Christianity, or France herself? 
All but the whole nation — the nation which professes 
itself the most civilized in the world — publicly pro- 
claims that it cares nothing for the first essential of 
civic morality. Partly it is the petulance of a splendid 
child which will not see the patent truth, partly the 
illogical logic of French intelligence which will com- 
mit any insanity that is recommended in the form of 
a syllogism, partly the sheer indifference of a brute 
that knows neither right nor wrong. 

But why try to analyse a phenomenon so despicable? 
One thing is certain, common justice is the first and 
most indispensable condition of a free country's ex- 
istence. It is absurd to think that any cause which 
has led to so deliberate a jettison of justice from the 
national cargo can be irrelevant — can be anything but 
most portentous and most disastrous to the nation. 

From henceforth every reflecting Frenchman 
knows that he may be accused of any crime, con- 
demned on evidence he has never heard of, banished, 
tormented in body and mind, and that hardly a soul 
among his countrymen will care whether he is getting 
justice or injustice. They happened to take sides about 
Dreyfus ; he may have no such luck. Dreyfus, for the 
rights of whose case friends and foes cared nothing, 
happened to be a convenient stick for anti-Semites 
and anti-militarists to thump the other side with; he 
may not. Reasoning thus, will the reflective French- 
man cultivate independence of thought, civic courage, 
political honesty? Not he. He will make it his busi- 
ness in life to cultivate a safe obscurity, and shout, if 
shout he must, always with the largest crowd. 

The results of such a lesson upon the public life of 



a nation are not easy to detect at once and in glaring 
cases; but you may be very sure they are there, and 
in the long run they will show themselves. The French 
citizen was fearful of unpopularity before; he will not 
be bolder now. The punishment of those who have 
suffered in Dreyfus's cause will not be lost on him. 
The timidity of a Casimir-Perier, of the President of 
the Republic who suspected the truth and dared not 
discover it, will be emulated by lesser men. Cowardice 
will become a principle of public life. 

In one respect alone can France claim pity — that she 
became bankrupt in justice through honouring too 
large a draft of her dariing child, the army. The army 
is the adored of France. A few of the younger men, 
still smarting from the petty brutalities of sergeants 
who delight to bully boys of a better class than their 
own, hate it bitterly; but to France as a whole her 
army is her dearest treasure. In a conscriptive coun- 
try the sight of troops in the street is as familiar as 
that of policemen in London. In Germany or Austria 
a regiment will march past with drum and colours 
and hardly a head turns to follow it. But in France 
the daily passage of the regiment empties every shop, 
and leaves the whole street tingling with pride and 
enthusiasm and love. It does not diminish this affec- 
tion that the last time the army took the field it was 
beaten and crumpled up, shot down by battalions and 
carried into captivity by brigades. Quite the reverse. 
France feels a sort of yearning to comfort her army 
as a mother might comfort an unsuccessful son. And 
the hope of revenge for that humiliation, on which 
she has lived for near a generation, rests in the army 
alone. The army — as they have said so often — the 



army is France. Everybody has served in it; every- 
body depends on it. The army is France. 

Only that unlucky gift of bad logic led France 
astray again. The army being France, they argue, 
the honour of the army is the honour of France. 
Thence they push on to the facile fallacy. The honour 
of the heads of the army is the honour of the army, 
and therefore of France. Honour, in that sense, ap- 
parently means reputation for honour, which comes, 
when you work it out, to the dictum that a general 
can do no wrong — or at least if he does, nobody may 
say so. 

When Esterhazy refused at the Zola trial to answer 
questions relative to his connection with the German 
military attache, the judge, M. Delegorgue, protected 
him. 'There is something/' said he, '^more important 
than a court of justice — the honour and security of 
the country." "I gather," tartly replied Zola's counsel, 
"that the honour of the country allows an officer to 
do such things, but does not allow them to be spoken 

Precisely. It came, of course, in practice to the 
divine right of generals. If a general's act was ques- 
tioned, he responded that the interests of the national 
defence demanded it, and said no more. France for 
the most part is quite satisfied. She has invented a 
new kind of Government — Csesarism without a C'^sar. 

No general is able or resolute enough to impose his 
authority on his fellows. Had any recent Minister of 
War desired to make himself dictator or bring in a 
Pretender, such was the all-accepting meekness of the 
country that he could have done it. None dared, and 
none of the Pretenders thought the sceptre worth pick- 



ing up out of the gutter. The result was that nobody 
knew or knows who is ruHng France at any given 
moment, or, indeed, knows anything at all — except 
that, whoever is ruling, it certainly is not the President 
nor the Ministry of the Republic. Summarily the Re- 
public, during the three years of the Dreyfus agitation, 
has abdicated. 

There is nothing surprising in that; the corruption 
and cowardice of Ministers, Senators, and Deputies 
had been amply demonstrated bv the scandal of Pan- 
ama. The Dreyfus affair only overthrew what was al- 
ready tottering. 

But the effects of government by generals are new 
and dismal. It was bad enough that they should arro- 
gate power to override everv authority in the State; 
yet to usurp is a generous crime, and to permit the 
usurpation of the army was in France a generous 
weakness. The dismal portent is the utter incapacity 
which the generals display. The Dreyfus case was 
their own game, and they had all the cards; but for 
the Hfe of them they could not play a single one cor- 
rectly. Wherever it was possible to bungle or vacillate, 
they bungled and vacillated. 

They first admitted in the press that Dreyfus was 
condemned on secret documents — that is, illegally — 
and then denied it in the Chamber. They first con- 
tended that Dreyfus wrote the incriminating bordereau 
because it was like his natural handwriting, then that 
he forged it, because it was more like Esterhaz/s. 
They tried to entrap Picquart by bogus cryptograms 
that would have been childish in a comic opera. They 
filled the air with asseverations of their loyalty to the 
Republic while they were openly violating its funda- 



mental principles. They declared that for the para- 
mount honour of the country they would prefer a revo- 
lution to the revision of the Dreyfus case; then, when 
it came to the point, submitted in tame silence to the 
Cour de Cassation and General de Galliffet's orders. 
They fought the Rennes case with determination and 
skill; but once more acknowledged their inferiority to 
De Galliffet by leaving the court — at his command, 
not the law's — when the speeches began. Worst of 
all has been their behaviour, where at least you might 
have expected dignity and spirit, in regard to foreign 
Powers. They withdrew from Fashoda and re- 
nounced Egypt for ever rather than fight Great Britain, 
although Marchand's appearance on the Nile was the 
hoped-for climax of the deliberate policy of years. 
One day they inspired impertinent fables about the 
Kaiser's communications with Drevfus; the next they 
sheepishly denied them on the threats of his ambas- 
sador. Now thev have insulted Germany again; but 
everybody knows they will apologize if she bids them. 
The great international result of three years of gov- 
ernment by generals is that France has virtually showed 
herself unfit for war by sea or land — afraid of Eng- 
land, terrified by Germany, the vassal of Russia — all 
but a second-rate Power. 

''What is to become of your army in the day of 
danger?" cried General de Pellieux at the trial of Zola. 
"What would you have your unhappy soldiers do, led 
under fire by officers whom others have striven to 
discredit in their eyes? . . . It is to a mere butch- 
ery they are leading your sons." It is — or would be, 
if France were mad enough to fight. There would be 
as ruinous a collapse as in 1870. Only that would not 



be the work of "others," but of the leaders of the army 
itself. They are indeed discredited — by their own folly. 
Few people yet believe in their honesty, and now none 
in their capacity. Every man in France who knows 
anything of the last three years' history, in his heart 
distrusts his beloved army utterly. That is the sum of 
what the generals, with everything in their favour, 
have been able to do for France, for the army, and for 

The degradation of politics and of the army . has 
been equalled by that of the press. France has never 
had a journal — unless we except the Temps and the 
present incarnation of the Matin — which an Anglo- 
Saxon public would call a newspaper; but then she 
does not want one. She has had journals which sup- 
ply what she wants — well-considered and elegantly 
written essays on the subjects of the day. Such she 
still finds in organs like the Figaro and the Journal des 
Dehats; but in the lower ranks of the press the fatal 
influence of the Dreyfus case has told vilely. Ameri- 
can papers appear to an Englishman free-spoken in 
their attacks on opponents, but the cheapest rag in 
New York would blush for the recklessness, gullibility 
and foulness of the baser French press. Restraints 
of good taste and decency are quite obsolete. You 
call your political opponent "a prodigy of corruption 
both in public and in private life, with thirty years of 
lies, debauchery, bribery, defamation and calumny be- 
hind him." The Prime Minister, if you dislike his 
policy, you describe as "only half cleansed of the mur- 
der of Carnot, the butcher of Madagascar, Hanotaux's 
accomplice in the extermination of the Armenians." 
You never speak of General de Gallififet by name, but 



as '^the assassin of May"; they will know whom you 
mean. M. Cavaignac being personally irreproachable, 
it is well to hark back to his ancestors, and call him 
the heir of two generations of murderers. Never say 
your opponent published his opinions, say that he 
vomited them. You can hardly go wrong in describ- 
ing anything you dislike as ordure. 

With foul language go intimidation, obtuseness, 
spiritlessness. During the trial of Zola many news- 
papers headed their issues for days with the names and 
addresses of the jurors, accompanied by suitable in- 
stigations to violence. During the Rennes Court- 
Martial on Dreyfus an ingenious little paper in Rennes 
ran a serial, giving the story of an Alsatian spy in 
1870, named Deutschfus, who seduced an honest girl, 
and then, returning as an Uhlan, shot her and kid- 
napped her child. The credulity of such newspapers 
equals their violence, and they readily gulp down the 
wildest stories and clumsiest forgeries. And when 
an occasion comes, like the Fashoda crisis, in which 
a strong lead might fitly have been given to the na- 
tion, nothing was forthcoming except alternate bluster 
and puling. With one breath they thundered out what 
things they would do if they could ; with the next they 
wailed for compassion because they could not do them. 
They inquired into the possible cause of the national 
decadence quite openly, and wound up with "Poor 
France !'' 

Poor France indeed! Her Government paralytic, 
her army cankered, her press putrid — what remains to 
her? The Church? The Church remains, but the in- 
fluence of the Catholic leaders and the Catholic clergy 
in the cause of anti-Semitism has discredited her 



among all fair-minded men. The law? The law has 
been broken and mended to order for the advantage 
or the disadvantage of individuals; and while the Cour 
de Cassation has done its duty most honourably under 
difficult circumstances, lesser magistrates have been 
found to surrender the law to partisanship or to fear. 
M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire was one of the highest 
judges in France, and his silly spitefulness has made 
him the laughing-stock of the world. 

Then what remains? Why, Rennes! The storm 
of party bitterness, folly, weakness, knavery has swept 
over from Paris into its own Lycee ; yet Rennes basks 
unmoved under its sun. Walk down the drowsy 
streets. Look at the Breton people — the shopkeepers, 
the blue blouses, the little lace caps over women's faces 
bronzed with field-work. There are yet people in 
France who are courteous and kindly, simple and 
frugal and brave, who earn their living, and love their 
kin, and do what the priest tells them, and are ready 
to die for France. There are millions more of them 
all over the provinces. Paris looks down upon them, 
and the whole world outside hardly knows of them, 
but they are the strength of France. It is theirs to 
work while Paris talks, to earn what Paris squanders, 
to heal when Paris wounds. 

The Dreyfus case is the deepest cut which Paris has 
scored on the nation's body since 1870; perhaps since 
1789. But it has not reached the vitals, and the prov- 
inces may heal it as they have done again and again 
before. The recuperative power of France has ever 
amazed the world, merely because the world has 
thought that France spelled only Paris. The provinces 
do nothing else but recuperate. 



Only that process, especially with a dwindling popu- 
lation, cannot go on forever. There will come in the 
end a day — and sooner, perhaps, than we think — when 
Paris will have sucked the nation dry, and the prov- 
inces will have no more to give. A nation cannot 
go on when the bottom is rotten, but neither can it live 
without a top. And there will soon be no top; Paris 
rots it as soon as it begins to flower. Presently there 
will be nothing left but Paris and peasants. France 
will still be France, but no longer a great Power, hav- 
ing nobody left to lead her. 

And in some ways the demand Vv^hich these three 
years of factious frenzy have made on France is more 
exhausting than any of those from which she has re- 
covered. In 1815 and 1871 it was comparatively easy 
for a united people to revive after foreign war. After 
the revolution, when the whole fabric of society was 
swept away, there was a great faith wherewith to build 
up everything anew; and after that the miracle of 
Napoleon. In 1899, after the Dreyfus case, the great 
institutions of France still stand ; but everybody knows 
them to be undermined. There is no faith; and be- 
cause there is no faith there will be no miracle. 



To help the reader to a thorough appreciation and 
understanding of the trial at Rennes, there have been 
selected among the mass of reports, depositions and 
incidents which make of the Afifaire Dreyfus the most 
confusing and complicated case on record, a few sig- 
nificant facts round which all the others can be 
grouped, and which are the vital and suggestive facts 
at the bottom of the case. They are presented with 
the explanator}^ and critical remarks of the Judges of 
the Court of Cassation, as recorded in the official re- 

Of the many people who have investigated the case, 
none had such admirable qualifications as the mem- 
bers of the highest tribunal of justice of France, who 
brought to this arduous work not only their superior 
professional equipment, but also an attitude absolutely 
unbiased and unprejudiced. As supreme guardians 
of justice, as patriotic Frenchmen, they never for a 
moment entertained the barbarous notion that the 
honour of the French army made the punishment of 
an innocent man a necessity. 




End of Sept — The bordereau is brought to the Bureau of 
Information (the Intelligence Department of the French 
War Office which deals with all matters pertaining to 
espionage) . 

Oct. 13. — Bertillon designates Dreyfus as author of bordereau. 
(Another expert, Godert, had refused to identify the two 

Oct. 15. — Du Paty de Clam's examination of Dreyfus, and ar- 
rest of the latter at close of the famous dictation scene. 
Dreyfus conducted by Henry to the Cherche-Midi prison, 
and given in charge of Forzinetti, governor of the prison. 

Nov. — Investigation by the Bureau of Information into the life, 
etc., of Dreyfus. 

Dec. 3. — Act of accusation drawn up by O'Ormescheville. 

Dec. 19. — Dreyfus trial begins before the First Court-Martial 
of Paris. As soon as the witnesses had been called over, 
the Commissary of the Government demanded that the 
case be heard in camera. Maitre Demange, counsel for the 
accused, opposed, and asked to be allowed to argue the 

point, "seeing that the unique piece of evidence " He 

could not even finish his sentence; the President inter- 
rupted him, and the Commissary of the Government said 
to him that there were other interests at stake than those 
merely of the accusation and defence. The case was there- 
fore heard in camera. 

Dec. 22. — Dreyfus is unanimously condemned to deportation 
and perpetual imprisonment in a fortified place. 


Jan. 4. — Public degradation of Dreyfus in the courtyard of the 
Ecole Militaire. 

Feb. 9. — The Chamber of Deputies passes a special law de- 
porting Dreyfus to French Guiana, and he is conducted to 
La Rochelle, the He de Re, and thence to the He du Diable. 



May. — Picquart, appointed Chief of the Intelligence Bureau, 
discovers the petit bleu, a communication written by 
Schwarzkoppen, the German Military Attache, and ad- 
dressed to Esterhazy. Later, after serious investigations, 
Picquart decides on the guilt of Esterhazy, and the conse- 
quent innocence of Dreyfus. 

July. — Picquart reports his discoveries to Gen. de Boisdeffre. 

Sept. — Picquart reports his discoveries to Gen. Gonse, and di- 
vulges the use of a secret document at the trial. 

Sept. 14. — The Eclair publishes the secret document "Ce 
canaille de D .''■' (printing it Dreyfus instead of D .) 

Oct. — Publication of Bernard Lazare's first brochure, "The 
Truth about the Dreyfus Affair." 

Nov. 10. — Publication in the Matin of a facsimile of the bor- 

Nov. 16. — Picquart sent away from Paris on a mission to 
Tunis, and succeeded by Henry. 

Nov. 18. — Castelin's interpellation in the Chamber of Deputies 
on the publication of the secret documents in the news- 

End of Nov. — De Gastro, a banker, recognizes Esterhazy's 
handwriting in the facsimile of the bordereau published 
by the Matin, and informs the Dreyfus family of the fact. 


Jan. — Picquart reaches Tunis. 

June. — Beginning of the open warfare against Picquart by 
Henry. The former consults his friend Leblois, a lawyer. 
Leblois secures the support of Scheurer-Kestner, Vice- 
President of the Senate, who having for four months past 
investigated the affair at the request of Bernard Lazare, 
had become convinced of the innocence of Dreyfus. 

July. — Scheurer-Kestner declares publicly that he is convinced 
of the innocence of Dreyfus. 

Sept. 28. — M. Martini, Comptroller of the Army and friend of 
General Billot, War Minister, asks of Dreyfus's father-in- 
law, M. Hadamard, what elements he has gathered to 
prove the innocence of Dreyfus. 

Oct. 16. — Last known interview between Esterhazy and 



Oct. 24. — Esterhazy writes a threatening letter to M. Hada- 

Oct. 30. — Interview between Scheurer-Kestner and Billot, the 
Minister of War. 

Nov. 10. — Picquart, in Tunis, receives false telegrams signed 
"Blanche" and "Esperanza." 

Nov. 15. — Esterhazy is denounced by Mathieu Dreyfus as the 
author of the bordereau, and Esterhazy demands an in- 

Nov. 14. — The ''Veiled Lady" presents Esterhazy with a doc- 
ument from the secret dossier of the Dreyfus trial. 

Nov. 18. — Forzinetti is cashiered for declaring to Rochefort 
that Dreyfus is innocent. 
Commandant Pauffin Saint-Morel punished with thirty days 
consigne for having brought to Rochefort the "flag of the 
General Staff." 

Nov. 22. — Picquart's rooms are searched in his absence by 
Henry on Gen. de Pellieux's order. 
The friends of Dreyfus force the Minister of War to recall 
Picquart from Tunis, that he may be heard at the pro- 
ceedings opened against Esterhazy. 

Nov. 27. — Picquart appears before Gen. de Pellieux, who is 
making a preliminary investigation against Esterhazy. 

Nov. 28. — The Figaro publishes Esterhazy's letters to Mme. de 
Boulancy, the famous Uhlan letter among them. 

Dec. 4. — Interpellation in the Chamber of Deputies on the 
Dreyfus case. Gen. Billot declares Dreyfus was "justly 
and legally condemned." 

Dec. 7. — The bordereau is included in the Esterhazy dossier to 
be examined by the Court-Martial. 

Dec. 15 and 20. — The false documents of Lemercier-Picard are 
offered to M. Reinach, who refuses them, and are sold to 
Rochefort, who published them as coming from the "de- 
partment of the Syndicate of treason devoted to making up 
false documents." 


Jan. 3. — Esterhazy brought before the Court-Martial. 

Jan. 8. — Colonel Picquart testifies to the two false documents 
signed "Speranza" and "Blanche," addressed to him while 
he was in Tunis. 



Jan. 10. — The Esterhazy Court-Martial shows its animosity 
against Colonel Picquart. 
Esterhazy is exonerated by the Ravary report. 
General de Luxer, presiding officer, accepts as perfectly good 
all the explanations of the accused. 

Jan. II. — Acquittal of Esterhazy, who leaves the prison on the 
arm of Mdlle. Pays, saluted by cries of "Long live the 
Army ! Down with the Jews !" 

Jan. 13. — Letter from Emile Zola to the President of the Re- 
publique, published by the Aurore under the title of 
Colonel Picquart is arrested and then sent to the fortress 
of Mount Valerian. 

Jan. 17. — Letters protesting against the illegality of the Drey- 
fus judgment are published in great numbers. 

Jan. 18. — The Minister of War brings suit against Zola and 
the Aurore. 

Jan. 20. — Zola and Perreux, manager of the Aurore, are sum- 
moned. Fifteen lines only in an article of eight columns 
are mentioned in the summons. 

Jan. 22. — Interpellation by M. Cavaignac in the Chamber of 
Deputies. M. Meline, the Prime Minister, says: "We 
have thought best not to bring before a jury the honor of 
the chiefs of the army." 

Jan. — Declaration of M. de Bulow in the Reichstag: "Between 
ex-Captain Dreyfus and no matter which German 
Agents, there have never existed any relations of any 


In the Chamber of Deputies M. Jaures puts this ques- 
tion to M. Meline : "Yes or no ; was there a document 
communicated to the Court-Martial without the knowledge 
of the accused?" M. Meline refuses to reply. 

Feb. 7. — Zola is brought before the Cour d' Assises. The 
officers are absent. Gen. Billot, in whose name the com- 
plaint was made, is not there. 

Feb. 9. — Judgment of the Court, commanding the military wit- 
nesses to come to trial. 

Feb. 10. — M. Delegorgue, President of the Court, declares : 
"There is no such thing as a Dreyfus affair." He refuses 
to put the questions of the defence to the witnesses. How- 



ever, Gen. Mercier does not dare to deny that a secret 
document was shown to the judges of Dreyfus. 

Feb. 12. — Deposition of Col. Picquart. 

Deposition of M. Jaures, who affirms that a secret document 
was shown to the judges of Dreyfus. M. Demange de- 
clares that so far as the trial was concerned, he knew of 
nothing but the bordereau, but a colleague told him that 
he had heard from a judge of the Court-Martial that a 
secret document had been shown to the judges of Dreyfu? 
in the judges' room. 
M. Bertillon is heard, and his system considered. 

Feb. 14. — Three French experts, Paul Meyer, director, Augusts 
Milinier, and Emile Molinier, professors at the Ecole des 
Chartres, declare that the bordereau is the work of Ester- 
hazy. The fourth expert, Louis Havet, professor at the 
Sorbonne, comes to the same conclusion. 

Feb. 17. — General de Pellieux speaks of the secret document 
(the forged Henry document). 

Feb. 18. — Colonel Picquart declares that that secret document 
is a forgery. Examination of Esterhazy. He is silent be- 
fore the accusations brought by Maitre Albert Clemenceau, 
one of the counsel for the defence. 

Feb. 20, 22, 23. — Maitre Labori pleads for Zola, Maitre Clem- 
enceau pleads for the Aurore. 

Feb. 23. — Condemnation of Zola (one year in prison and 3000 
francs fine). 

Feb. 25. — MM. Grimaux, Leblois, Picquart and Chapelin are 
disciplined for having expressed doubts of the guilt of 

End of Feb. — The greater part of the European Press sides 
with Zola. 

March 5. — Death of Lemercier-Picard, spy and forger. His 
identity is concealed for three days by the police. 

March 30. — Appeal of Zola and of the Aurore. 

April I. — Gen. Billot declares to M. Mazeau, President of the 
Court of Cassation, that he will not be responsible for 
troubles in the street if the Zola verdict is revised. 

April 2. — The Zola verdict is annulled. 

The Court-Martial not having brought a complaint against 



Zola and the Aurore, M. Meline, interpellated by M. 
Habert, promises to prosecute again and at once. 

April 7. — Letter to the Siecle, signed "Diplomate," accuses Es- 
terhazy of having been in the employ of Col. Schwarz- 
koppen. Esterhazy does not prosecute the Siecle. 

April 8. — The Court-Martial brings complaint against Zola and 
the Aurore. In the Siecle is published the deposition of 
M. Casella, declaring that Esterhazy is the author of the 
bordereau, and quoting MM. Panizzardi and Schwarzkop- 
pen as his authorities. 

April II. — Zola and Aurore are re-summoned. It is now a 
question of but three lines in the same article of eight 

April 12 and 15. — Esterhazy does not prosecute either the 
Siecle or the newspapers which reprinted the accusation 
of M. Casella. 

May 15. — It is said that the General Staff possess a photograph 
of Col. Picquart in conversation with Col. Schwarzkoppen. 
The Jour affirms the existence of this photograph, but be- 
ing summoned to produce it, the photograph is not to be 

May 23. — Zola prosecuted at Versailles. 

The theory of the incompetency of the Court is rejected. 

May 23. — Bands of loafers follow and hoot Zola and Picquart. 
Esterhazy surrounded with officers and journalists, who are 
grasping his hands, declares that he is come for the pur- 
pose of killing Picquart. 
The letters to Madame de Boulancy, after legal investiga- 
tion, are declared to be authentic. 

June 14. — Downfall of the Meline Ministry. 

June 16. — Rejection of Zola's appeal. 

June 18 and 22. — ^Ministerial crisis caused by the Dreyfus af- 

June 24. — Mr. Conybeare, Professor at the University of Ox- 
ford, writes M. Reinach : "Colonel de Schwarzkoppen will 
not deny that he paid 2000 francs monthly to his habitual 
informer, Esterhazy." 
Esterhazy does not prosecute the newspapers which print the 
accusation of Professor Conybeare. 

June 27. — M. Charles Dupuy, Prime Minister, declares that the 



report of M. Lebrun-Renault dates from 1897 and not 
from 1894, the time when it should have been made. 

June 28. — M. Brisson accepts M. Caviagnac as Minister of 
War, imposed by the Libre Parole and the Intransigeant, 
the anti-Dreyfusist newspapers. 
M. Caviagnac is selected by these journals because of his 
attitude in the Dreyfus affair. 

July 5. — The Aurore publishes a letter from Esterhazy contain- 
ing the expression of the bordereau, "I am about to leave 
for the manoeuvres." This letter proves : First, that, con- 
trary to what he says, Esterhazy went to the manoeuvres 
in 1894; and second, that the wording of this phrase was 
usual with the Major. 

July 8. — Speech of M. Cavaignac at the Chamber. He reads 
the forged Henry document, and bases his conviction of 
Dreyfus's guilt largely upon it. 

July 9. — Letter from Colonel Picquart to M. Brisson offering 
to prove to him that the document read by Cavaignac at 
the Chamber is a forged document. 

July 13. — Colonel Picquart is arrested and prosecuted for the 
facts brought forward against him in February. 
Arrest of Esterhazy and IMdlle. Pays, accused of fabricating 
the false documents "Speranza" and "Blanche." 

June 18. — New trial of Zola at Versailles. 

Condemnation by default of Zola and Perreux, one year in 

prison and 3000 francs fine. 
Maitre Ployer, counsel for the prosecution, says that "Zola 
in spite of a freedom of defence without parallel in judi- 
cial annals, did not attempt even to demonstrate his inno- 
cence !" 

June 19. — Departure of Zola from France. 

June 23. — Complaint of Colonel Picquart against Colonel Du 
Paty de Clam. 
Zola is sticken from the rolls of th? Legion of Honour. 

June 28. — The Chamber of Correctional Appeal condemns Zola 
and Perreux, manager of the Aurore, to one month in 
prison and 3000 francs fine for libel against the experts 
Couard, Belhomme, and Varinard, whom he accuses in his 
letter of lying or imbecility. Each of the experts obtains 
5000 francs damages. 



July 30. — M. Bertulus declares Colonel Du Paty de Clam, Es- 
terhazy, and Mddle. Pays, authors and accomplices in the 
matter of the false documents "Blanche" and "Speranza." 

Aug. 6. — The Chambre d' Accusation saves Du Paty de Clam 
by declaring ^1. Bertulus has no right to investigate in the 
matter of the forged Du Paty de Clam and Esterhazy doc- 

Aug. 13. — Esterhazy is set at liberty. 

Aug. 26. — Colonel Picquart and M. Leblois are sent before the 
police court. 

Aug. 30. — Arrest of Colonel Henry, who acknowledges being 
the forger of the document Cavaignac quoted in his speech 
of July 8. 

Aug. 31. — Resignation of General de Boisdeffre. 
Suicide of Colonel Henry. 

Sept. I. — The Cour de Cassation declares that the Chamber 
d' Accusation has exonerated Colonel Du Paty de Clam by 
refusing to apply the existing law. 

Sept. 3. — Resignation of M. Cavaignac. 

Sept. 5. — Letter from Madame Dreyfus to the Minister of Jus- 
tice, demanding the revision of the judgment against 

Sept. 6. — General Zurlinden assumes the portfolio of war. 

Sept. 13. — Colonel Du Paty de Clam is placed on the retired 
list for his part in the affair Esterhazy. 

Nov. 15. — Dreyfus is informed of the pending revision just 
one year after his brother's denunciation of Esterhazy. 

Nov. 17. — Revision is practically decided upon. 

Nov. 20. — M. Paul Bernard, President, informs Maitre Labori 
that the 8th Chamber will adjourn the Leblois-Picquart 
trial, and will release Colonel Picquart provisionally. 

Nov. 21. — The Leblois-Picquart trial is postponed until after 
the Revision. The Military Governor of Paris removes 
Colonel Picquart from the civil prison of La Saute and 
places him secretly in the military prison of the Cherche- 

Nov. 25. — General Chanoine, Minister of War, resigns. 

■Nov. 26. — The Counsel of Ministers refers to the Cour de 
Cassation the question of the legality of a revision of the 
Dreyfus case. 



Nov. 28. — The Cour de Cassation begins the work of revision. 

December. — The Criminal Chamber of the Cour de Cassation 
orders the adjournment of the Picquart trial; examines 
the secret dossier brought by Captain Cuignet on behalf 
of the Minister of War, hears the depositions of MM. 
Lebrun-Renault, Casimir Perier, etc. 


January. — M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire, President of the Civil 
Chamber of the Cour de Cassation, resigns, and is re- 
placed by Conseiller Ballot-Beaupre. 

Jan. 2y. — Prosecution of M. Joseph Reinach by Madame 
Henry for defamation of her husband's memory. 

February. — M. Renault-Aloliere, Recorder of the Commission 
of Procedure in the matter of the revision in the Criminal 
Chamber, gives a favourable report. 
The Criminal Chamber, after having heard further evidence, 
orders, through M. Loew, its President, the closing of the 
preliminary inquest for a revision of the Dreyfus case. 
The Senate discusses a law for taking the case out of the 
hands of the Criminal Chamber. 

March. — The Senate decides that all Chambers of the Cour de 
Cassation are to unite and pronounce upon the demand 
for revision. 
M. Ballot-Beaupre is designated as Recorder. 
The full bench of Cour de Cassation takes up the investiga- 
tion of the secret dossier. 

April. — The Figaro publishes all the reports of the investiga- 
tion of the Cour de Cassation, and being prosecuted is 
condemned to 500 francs fine. 
The court hear the depositions of Captain Chamoin and M. 
Paleologue, and of MM. Lepine, Freystaetter, Bertillon. 
Gonse, and Roget, as well as that of Du Paty de Clam. 
Captain Freystaetter, one of the judges of the Court- 
Martial oi 1894, declares that nothing but the bordereau 
was communicated during the trial, proving that it was in 
the jury room after the audience that the secret document 
was communicated. 

May. — M. Ballot-Beaupre makes his report. 



June 3. — The revision of the Dreyfus case is voted by the 

Cour de Cassation. The case is referred to the Rennes 

June 6. — Captain Dreyfus leaves Guiana for France on the 

cruiser Sfax. 
June 12. — The Dupuy Cabinet resigns. 
June 22. — New Cabinet formed with General de Galliffet as 

Minister of War. 
July I. — Captain Dreyfus arrives at Quiberon. 
Aug. 7. — The Court-Martial on Captain Dreyfus begins at 

Sept. 9. — Captain Dreyfus recondemned by a majority of five 

to two, with extenuating circumstances. 



Report of Commandant A. d'Ormescheville. 

Commandant d'Ormescheville, Rapporteur of the First 
Court Martial, having proceeded to Regular Instruc- 
tion, made the following Report, which is the Act of 

December 3, 1894. 

Captain Dreyfus, of the 14th Artillery, stagiaire to the staff- 
major of the army, is accused of having, in 1894, given in- 
formation to several agents of foreign powers, with the object 
of giving them the means of committing hostilities or under- 
takmg a war against France, and of having delivered to them 
secret documents on which was based the order given by M. 
General Military Governor of Paris, Nov. 3, 1894. 

Dreyfus is accused of having, in 1894, had dealings with 
several agents of foreign powers, giving them information 
which would enable them to commit hostilities or undertake 
a war with France. 

The basis of the accusation against Dreyfus is a letter, 
not signed and not dated, which is in the dossier, proving that 
these military confidential documents were delivered to an 
agent of a foreign power. 

General Gonse, sub-chief of the staff-major general of the 
army, into whose hands the documents fell, gave them, after 
their seizure, October 15th, to Paty de Clam, Chief of the 
Batallion of Infantry hors cadre, ordered October 14th, 1894, 
by the Minister of War, as officer of the police judiciary, to 
institute proceedings against Captain Dreyfus. 

From the seizure of this letter, General Gonse has declared 
and affirmed to the officer of police commissioned to investi- 
gate, that he had some documents addressed to a foreign 
power, which had come into his possession, but that after the 
formal order of the Minister of War he could not state by 
what means the documents had come into his possession. 

The exact details of the inquiry which took place in the 
offices of the stafif-major of the army are found contained in 



the report which Paty de Clam addressed to the Minister of 
War, October 31 last, and which was a part of the dossier. 
An examination of this report shows that it was done with- 
out any haste and especially without any person having signed 
it a priori, and it is on this the inquiry has been conducted. 

This inquiry is divided into two parts, one preliminary in- 
quiry in order to arrive at the discovery of the culprit, if pos- 
sible, then the regulation inquiry by the officer of police. 

The very nature of the documents addressed to the agent 
of a foreign power at the same time with the criminal letter, 
established the fact that it was an officer who was the author 
of the letter and who had sent it and the documents; more- 
over, that this officer belonged to the artillery, three of the 
notes or documents sent concerning this branch of the army. 
After a careful examination of all the handwriting of the of- 
ficers employed in the offices of the staff-major, it was de- 
cided that the writing of Dreyfus presented a remarkable sim- 
ilarity to that of the criminal letter. The Minister of War, 
upon the report which was made to him, ordered that the 
writing of the letter should be studied and compared with the 
writing of Dreyfus. M. Gobert, expert of the Bank of France 
and of the Court of Appeal, was commissioned by General 
Gonse to make the examination, and for this purpose re- 
ceived him some documents, October 4th, 1894. Some days 
after the receipt of these documents M. Gobert asked M. 
Gonse, who went to see him, the name of the guilty person; 
naturally the latter refused to give it to him. 

A few days afterward M. Gobert was asked to submit his 
conclusions and the documents which had been confided to 
him, he having shown his desire for more time in the matter. 

October 13th, in the morning. M. Gobert submitted his 
conclusions in the form of a letter to the Minister. They 
are worded as follows: — 

"The criminal letter might be that of another person than 
the one suspected." 

Mr. Gobert's manner having displayed a certain defiance, 
the Minister of War asked the Prefect of Police for the opin- 
ion of M. Bertillon. 

Some specimens of writing and a photograph of the crim- 
inalTetter were then submitted to him, and he proceeded to 



their examination while awaiting the return of the documents 
confided to M. Gobert. After the return of these documents 
by M. Gobert, they were sent to M. Bertillon, who, on the 
evening of October 13th, drew up his conclusions, which are 
worded as follows: — "If one goes on the hypothesis that the 
document is forged, it appears manifest that it is the same 
person who has written the letter and the documents in ques- 

In compliance with the order of the Minister of War, dated 
October 14th, 1894, Paty de Clam proceeded to the arrest of 
Captain Dreyfus on October 15th. 

Before the actual arrest, and in order that Dreyfus might 
know the accusation against him, and prove his innocence if 
possible, Paty de Clam submitted him to the following test: — 
He made him write a letter in which were enumerated the 
documents figuring in the criminal letter. 

As soon as Dreyfus perceived the object of this letter, his 
writing, which was up to that point regular, became irregular, 
and he showed signs of uneasiness. Questioned about this, 
he declared that his fingers were cold. Now the temperature 
in the office of the Minister was medium; Dreyfus had been 
there for a quarter of an hour, and the first four lines written 
presented no signs of trembling. 

After having arrested and interrogated Dreyfus, Paty de 
Clam, the same day, Oct. 15, made a search in Dreyfus' s house. 
This superior officer having heard no witness, the duty fell 
upon us, and by reason of the necessary secrecy, the inquiry 
in which we heard twenty-three witnesses was as laborious as 
it was delicate. 

It appears, from the testimony of witnesses, that during the 
two years that Dreyfus spent as stagiaire to the General Staff, 
he was seen in different offices, that his actions were suspi- 
cious, that he was found alone at late hours in other offices 
than his own and where there was no excuse for his presence. 
In this way he was able to look up matters which might in- 
terest him. He was also able, without being seen by anyone, 
to go into offices other than his for the same motive. It was 
remarked by the Chief of the section that during his stay in 
the 4th bureau Dreyfus was specially interested in the study 
of dossiers of mobilization, so that in leaving this bureau he 



possessed all the mysteries of the concentration upon the net- 
work of the East in time of war. 

The examination, as well as the conclusions formed on the 
subject of the criminal letter, belong more particularly to the 
experts in writing. However, at first sight, and afterwards, 
we must say that the writing of this document presents a 
great similarity to the different documents found in the 
dossier, notably in the slanting of the writing, the omission 
of dates and the cutting of words in two at the end of lines, 
which are the features of the letters written by Dreyfus (see 
his letter to the Procureur of the Republic of Versailles and 
the letters or cards to his fiancee which are in the dossier). 
In regard to the signature the comparison fails because it 
ought to fail. Colonel Fabre, chief of the 4th Bureau of the 
staff-major of the army, in his deposition said that he had 
been struck by the similarity of the writing of the criminal 
documents and the writing of Dreyfus when he was in Bureau 
No. 4. 

Lieutenant-Colonel d'Aboville, sub-chief of the same bureau. 
said in his deposition, that the resemblance of the writing of 
the criminal documents to the writing of the documents of 
comparison, was very striking. 

As regards the experts who reported to us the first phase 
of the inquiry, that is to say in the commencement of the 
month of October last, we find first the hurried letter of M, 
Gobert, which is very vague. The wording of the conclusion 
of this expert shows that the anonymous letter that he exam- 
ined could be or might not be from the person accused. It 
is to be observed that M. Gobert received, among the docu- 
ments for comparison written by the hands of Dreyfus, a 
work entitled "Studies upon measures in times of war." This 
document which contains a detailed expose of the resources 
of the Bank of France, in case of war, attracted the attention 
of M. Gobert, who is employed by the Bank of France, and 
is to-day an expert on writing there. 

Captain Dreyfus having had, in the course of his work, to 
consult the principal officers of that bank, he was quite well- 
known by a number of its employes. It was without doubt 
this fact which led M. Gobert to tell us that he had surmised 
the name of the person suspected, but that no one had any 



knowledge of it. Be that as it may, M. Gobert, as we 
have said, for some unknown reason had asked General 
Gonse, sub-chief of the General Staff, the name of the guilty 
person. What reason had he for doing so? Many hypoth- 
eses can be advanced. We can say that such a demand, in 
contradiction to the professional attitude of an expert in 
handwriting, warrants the supposition that the account ren- 
dered by M. Gobert to the Minister (which, not being certi- 
fied under oath, was merely in the way of information) was 
written under the influence of bias, contrary to the invariable 
practice of professional experts in such matters. 

In consequence, this account seems to us suspicious, to say 
the least. Its dubiousness of tone has no value from the 
standpoint of law. It does not contain any technical discus- 
sion which would allow one to understand on what facts M. 
Gobert has based his judgment. 

We will add that M. Gobert, when asked to add technical 
explanation to his report, refused; that moreover, before tak- 
ing the oath, he declared to us that if we should call him in 
view of making a second expert investigation, a regular one 
this time, in the Dreyfus affair, he would refuse to do so. 

As we have said before, the task of examination given to 
M. Gobert by the Minister of War, was also entrusted to M. 
Bertillon, who formulated, October 13th, 1894, his conclusion 
as follows: — 

"If one puts aside the hypothesis of a forged document 
with the greatest care, it appears manifest that it is one and 
the same person who has written the letter and the documents 
in question." 

In his report of Oct. 23rd, given after a more thorough ex- 
amination, bearing upon a larger number of documents, M. 
Bertillon formulated the following conclusions, which are 
much more affirmative. "The proof is peremptory. You 
know what my conviction was in the first place; it is now ab- 
solute — complete without any limitation." 

The report of M. Charavay, expert in writing near the Tri- 
bunal of the Seine, given under oath, contains, first of all, a 
detailed technical discussion, and the conclusions which re- 
sulted from it are given in the following words: — "Based on 
the statements made in the present report, I, the undersigned 



expert, conclude that the criminal document No. i is written 
by the same hand as the test documents from 2 to 30." 

The report of M. Teyssonieres, expert in handwriting near 
the Civil Tribunal, given under oath, contains, like the pre- 
ceding report, a detailed technical discussion of the docu- 
ments. His conclusions are thus: "Based on the preceding, 
I declare on my conscience that the writing of the criminal 
piece No. i, is by the same hand which has written docu- 
ments 2 to 30." 

The report of M. Pelletier, expert, etc., given under oath, 
and which bore upon the comparison of the handwriting of 
the criminal documents with that of two persons, contains, 
like the preceding reports, a technical discussion of the docu- 
m.ents examined. His conclusions are as follows: 

"Summing up the whole thing, I do not consider myself 
warranted in attributing to either one or the other of the per- 
sons suspected, the writing of the criminal documents." 

It is worthy of note that the experts Charavay, Teysson- 
nieres and Pelletier. after taking the oath, were put in rela- 
tion with M. Bertillon. who told them that he was at their 
disposal to furnish them with certain pelures. the photographs 
of which were not as yet finished, and which were of great 
importance by reason of the comparisons to be made of the 
handwritings. Of the three experts above-named, only two 
returned to see M. Bertillon and receive from him communi- 
cation of these pelures; these two were Charavay and Teysso- 

The third. M. Pelletier. did not go again, and did his work, 
which bore upon the comparison of two handwritings instead 
of one with the criminal letter, without the help of the docu- 
ments that ^I. Bertillon proposed to give him, and which must 
have had decidedly as much interest for him as for his col- 

Dreyfus was subjected to a long interrogatory by M. du Paty 
de Clam. His answers are full of contradictions, to say the 
least. Among them some are particularly interesting to note 
here, notably one at the time of his arrest. October 15th last, 
when he was searched and said : "Take my keys ; oper every- 
thing in my house, you will find nothing." 

The search which was made at his house resulted very 



nearly as he said; but one is justified in thinking that if any 
letters, even of the family, except those written to Madame 
Dreyfus — if even letters from shopkeepers had contained any- 
thing compromising they would naturally have been destroyed. 
The whole of the interrogatory put by M. du Paty de Clam is 
full of persistent denials by Dreyfus, and also of protestations 
against the crime of which he is accused. At the beginning of 
that interrogatory Dreyfus said at first that he thought he 
recognized in the criminal documents the handwriting of an 
officer employed in the office of the General Staff of the Army ; 
afterwards, before us, he retracted this allegation, which ought 
to fall by its own weight, in the face of the complete dissim- 
ilarity of the handwriting of the officer he had in mind with 
that of the criminal document. 

Another extraordinary answer made in the course of the 
first interrogatory is that which related to the insecurity of the 
official documents which, according to Dreyfus, were not in 
perfect security at the second bureau of the General Staff of 
the Army at the time when he was employed in it. This alle- 
gation of insecurity has not been confirmed by any of the wit- 
nesses heard on this subject; he must therefore have made it 
with some object in view. 

Lastly, there exists, in the first interrogatory, some absolutely 
incoherent answers, such as these : "The experts are mistaken, 
the incriminating document is the work of a forger; some one 
has tried to imitate my handwriting. These documents might 
have been written with the help of fragments of my handwrit- 
ing put together with care to form a whole which would resem- 
ble this letter. The ensemble of the letter does not resemble my 
writing; it is not even an attempt to imitate it." 

In the interrogatory of Dreyfus, his answers have always 
been obtained with great difficulty, as one will observe from 
the many words scratched and underlined in the official report 
of the interrogatory. When Dreyfus ventured an affirmation, 
he would hasten to weaken it by vague or mixed-up phrases 
trying always, in spite of former remarks, to question or to 
start the conversation without being asked to do so. That sys- 
tem, if we had allowed it to be adopted, might have had some 
unfortunate consequences for the form even of the interrog- 
atory, on account of the extreme cleverness of Captain Dreyfus. 



If one compares the answers that Captain Dreyfus has made 
to us with the depositions of some of the witnesses heard, they 
will draw from it the painful impression that he often veils the 
truth, and that, whenever he finds himself hard pressed, he geti 
out of the trouble without much difficulty, owing to his mental 

Summing up the depositions of several witnesses, the facts 
extracted are these: that Dreyfus had often drawn upon him- 
self the suspicion of his comrades, that he had asked Captain 
Boullenger questions about the secret and confidential affair in 
his charge, which Boullenger refused to answer; also that 
Captain Bosse had seen him, September 8th last, working in his 
office on some unauthorized kind of paper instead of using the 
same official papers as the document which he had to bring up 
to date; also Captain Maistre said to him that he would give 
him communication of the important work which he had in 
charge, but in his office only. It appears that Dreyfus in- 
dulged in indiscreet conversations, that he made investigations 
of matters not in his own department ; that he had a habit of 
ferreting ; that he seemed to be bent on procuring information, 
either written or oral, before finishing his term of service as 
stagiaire with the General Staff of the Army. 

His attitude seemed to be one of cross-purposes, and had a 
suspicious appearance, like that of one who practices spying. 
His actions, taken in connection with the similarity of the 
handwriting, are a serious factor against him when the ques- 
tion of his arraignment was brought up. 

Although Dreyfus declared to us that he never had gambling 
propensities, it appears from the information we have been 
able to gather on the subject that he frequented several Paris 
clubs where there is much gambling. In the course of his in- 
terrogatory he acknowledged that he had gone to the Press 
Club, but only as a guest to dine, and that he had never played 
there. The gambling clubs of Paris, such as the Washington 
Club, the Betting Club, the Fencing Club, and the Press Club, 
have no Club books, and their frequenters, being a shady class 
of people, the testimony of any witnesses we might have called 



from there would not have been trustworthy ; hence they were 
not heard. 

In regard to his travels, Dreyfus stated that he could go to 
Alsace in secret, almost whenever he wanted to, and that the 
German authorities would shut their eyes to his presence. This 
faculty of traveling clandestinely contrasts strongly with the 
difficulties which our officers experienced at that time, and at 
all times, in obtaining permission or passports from the Ger- 
man authorities allowing them to return to Alsace. It may be 
there was a reason for this which the limited time at our dis- 
posal will not admit of our fathoming. 

In regard to the hints of Dreyfus about the baiting which 
the Minister of War practised, it appears to us that this accusa- 
tion was trumped up by Dreyfus in order to defend himself for 
having any connection with compromising documents, and per- 
haps this loop-hole of escape in his mind made him less care- 
ful about disguising his handwriting. 

On the other hand, the slight alterations which he did make 
might have had for an object the possible argument of forgery, 
should the documents after having reached their destination 
eventually fall into the hands of the Minister of War, 

As to the proofs relating to the knowledge Captain Dreyfus 
had of the notes or documents enumerated in the criminal doc- 
uments and which have accompanied it, the first interrogatory, 
as well as the one he has just been submitted to, convinces 
me, in spite of his denials, that he was in easy position to fur- 
nish them. On examining these documents, we find first of all 
the note upon the hydraulic brake 120. 

The allegations of Dreyfus on the subject of this brake, go 
to show that it was easy for him to procure, either through the 
artillery, or by conversations with certain officers of the Gen- 
eral Staff, the elements necessary to fabricate the note in ques- 

As to the note upon the troupes de couverture with the 
restriction that some modifications might be brought in by the 
new plan, to us it seems impossible that Dreyfus did not have 
knowledge of the modifications bearing on the plan of cam- 
paign in the month of April last, which, though confidential, 



was not altogether secret, being freely discussed by officers of 
the staff both among themselves and in the presence of 

In that which concerns the note upon certain changes in the 
artillery staff, an agitation for the suppression of the ponton- 
niers, we cannot believe that Dreyfus was not interested in 
such a transformation, and only knew of it when it became of- 
ficial. About the note on Aiadagascar which presented the 
greatest interest for one of the foreign Powers, if as everything 
suggested, an expedition had been sent at the beginning of 
1895, Captain Dreyfus would have easily been able to procure 
the official note. In fact, last February Corporal Bernillon, 
then Secretary to Colonel de Sancy, chief of the second Bureau 
of the General Staff, made a copy of a work about twenty-two 
pages on Madagascar in an antechamber adjoining the office of 
this superior officer. 

The making of that copy took about five days, and during 
that time original and copy were left in a portfolio on the writ- 
ing table of the corporal when he left his work. Besides, dur- 
ing office hours this corporal was often absent for a while, 
leaving his work in full view on the table (consequently easy 
to read), for he never thought that any officer not belonging to 
that office, or in fact any officer unknown to him would be in 
the room. 

This corporal declared to us in his deposition, but without 
giving any precise date, that Captain Dreyfus, whom he knew, 
had come four or five times into the room to see Colonel de 
Sancy, while he was doing service at the German section. This 
document could also have been read by Dreyfus when he was 
put back to the English section, which was occupied just then 
with Madagascar, because these documents had been placed 
temporarily in an open pasteboard box in that section. In 
what concerns the project of the Manuel de tir, of artillery on 
March 14, 1894, Dreyfus acknowledged, in his first interroga- 
tory, that he had spoken of it several times with the superior 
officer of the 2nd Bureau of the General Staff. 

In conclusion, the elements of the accusation against Dreyfus 
are of two kinds, moral and material. I have examined the 
first elements; the second element consists in the criminal 
letter whose examination by the majority of experts, as well is 



by us, and by the witnesses who have seen it, has proved, in 
spite of voluntary dissimilarities, a complete similarity with 
the writing of Dreyfus. 

Besides the preceding, I can say that Dreyfus possesses a 
very extended knowledge, a remarkable memory; that he 
speaks several languages, notably German, which he knows 
thoroughly, and Italian, which he pretends to know very little 
about now; that he was a supple character, even obsequious, 
which is very useful in the relation of a spy with foreign 
agents. Captain Dreyfus was therefore well fitted for th? 
shameful mission that he had mapped out for himself or ac- 
cepted, but which, happily for France, was put an end to by the 
discovery of the criminal letter. 

In consequence, I am of opinion that Captain Dreyfus, 
Stagiaire, etc., be arraigned for having, in 1894, at Paris, de- 
livered to a foreign power a certain number of confidential doc- 
uments relating to national defence, thus enabling them to un- 
dertake a war with France. 

A. D'Ormescheville, 

Made at Paris, December 3, 1894. Reporter. 



[Report of Conseiller bard, Court of Cassation, October 27th, 


Besides the experts, the reporter, d'Ormescheville, 
heard twenty military witnesses and — we note in pass- 
ing, because this detail, contrary to judicial customs, 
has its interest — that not one of these witnesses was 
confronted with the accused, that not once was the ac- 
cused in the presence of those who accused him and 
permitted to make any explanations to them. 

Moreover, the twenty military witnesses cited were 
not all witnesses for the prosecution; several of them 
testified only to entirely indifferent facts or upon the 
character of the accused. As for those whom the 
prosecution considered regular witnesses, they indi- 
cated that Dreyfus liked to inform himself on military 
matters which were outside of his duties, and that he 
could get into the offices where he was not summoned ; 
but not one of them brought out any fact that could 
fix upon him the crime of high treason. 

As to the motive which could have influenced the 
accused to commit a crime so abominable, the report 
gives no explanation. The accused had a comfortable 
fortune; it is true that this is not a proof of incor- 
ruptibility, but he led a life in keeping with his re- 
sources. The reporter, therefore, looked for gambling, 
women or deceived ambition as the cause; what he 
found, supposing it to be fully established, constitutes 
information of morality; the reporter was not able to 
see anything else. 



If Dreyfus complained of unjust prejudice against 
him, he nevertheless graduated from the War School, 
ninth out of forty-two, with the note ''Very good," his 
brevet of Etat-Major, and his admission to the Gen- 
eral Staff. 

As for the two women he knew in 1893 and 1894, 
it is found that there were only some visits or inter- 
views, to which Dreyfus himself put an end. 

As for gambling, the report, without affirming that 
Dreyfus lost, or even played, says that *'it appears 
from information gathered'' that he frequented circles 
where there was gambling. 

This information is represented in two notes, that 
cannot even be called police notes, for nothing indi- 
cates their origin; they are not even signed by any 
agent whatever, and they are not indorsed by any tes- 
timony, which is perhaps improper, when it relates to 
the honour of an officer, if he is accused of the great- 
est of crimes. No accusation of gambling was brought 
at the Rennes trial. 

However that may be, the motive of this monstrous 
crime remains mysterious, like the circumstances of 
its perpetration; one thing alone accuses Dreyfus, and 
that is the bordereau. 

To declare that Dreyfus wrote the bordereau, M. 
d'Ormescheville cites his personal criticism; but in 
stating, with other persons, that there is a similarity 
of handwriting between the incriminating letter and 
the handwriting of Dreyfus, he adds that "the exam- 
ination as well as the conclusions to be formed on this 
subject belong more particularly to experts on hand- 
writing," and at the end of his report he recalls that 
'^the majority of the experts" have pronounced against 



the accused. The opinion of the experts, • therefore, 
gave decisive weight in the Dreyfus affair (as well in 
the Esterhazy afifair). Now as the contradictory and 
irreconcilable results of these experts constitute one 
of the reasons for revision, it will be in order to make 
them known together with sufficient details. 

In this stage of the procedure, after the report of 
Commandant d'Ormescheville, dated December 3rd, 
Commandant Brisset, Commissary of the government, 
makes a report tending to the appearance of the ac- 
cused before the Council of War, December 4th, and 
the same day. General Saussier, Governor of Paris, 
signed the order that Captain Dreyfus should be tried 
by court-martial. 

All the witnesses who were heard in the instruction, 
as well as Commandant du Paty de Clam, were cited 
before the court-martial, including the experts who 
were engaged in the aflfair. A dozen witnesses, of 
whom halt belonged to the army, were also sum- 
moned at the request of the accused. The entire de- 
bate took place with "huis clos" the most rigorous; it 
continued four days, and December 28th the accused 
was unanimously declared guilty and condemned to 
transportation to a fortified enclosure. 

Notwithstanding the protestations of the con- 
demned, protestations which were unknown to the 
public, the sentence against Dreyfus did not raise any 
indignation and could not raise any observation, ex- 
cept the regret that a crime like this should rank in 
the category of political crimes with a penalty like 
that of transportation which, applied according to 
law, must guarantee political prisoners against the 
excessive hardships of penitentiary regime established 



for common law criminals. The attention of the pub- 
lic authorities was even, and very justly, called to the 
opportunity of revising from this point of view the 
legal rulings governing spies. 

No other incident occurred during the year 1895 and 
the first months of 1896. But, before passing to the 
Esterhazy affair, and to follow events in their chrono- 
logical order, we must inform the Court, as far as is 
in our power, on the allegation that after the degrada- 
tion of Alfred Dreyfus, he made confessions to Cap- 
tain Lebrun-Renaud. 

Not that those who have experience in judicial mat- 
ters can attach great importance to the incident which 

In certain circumstances, words which would seem 
an explicit and formal avowal do not for the judge 
constitute an irrevocable proof. You had a recent ex- 
ample in the Esterhazy affair, when the woman Pays 
having acknowledged before the Judge that she was 
the author of a telegram, this was found to be false, 
and the Court decided that this declaration, revoked 
later, must not be retained against the accused. 

It is generally required that an avowal shall be pro- 
duced before a judge or at least before a legal police 
officer, that it shall be precise, and not the result of 
equivocal expressions, that it shall agree with informa- 
tion already obtained; all these circumstances are 
found to be very incomplete in this instance. 

Nevertheless, we are obliged to consider this ques- 
tion, as a dossier has been communicated to us, which 
contains two reports and the speech of the Minister 
of War, Cavaignac, at the session of the Chamber of 
Deputies, July 7th, 1898. 



One of the reports is by Captain Tassin, of Sep- 
tember 7th last. Contrary to the indication of the 
dossier, there is no question of avowals made by Cap- 
tain Dreyfus. 

The second report must be read. We do not know 
if it was considered convincing. We fear that it con- 
firms doubts and thickens the obscurities that sur- 
round this incident. 

Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Guerin, Sous-Chief of the 
Etat-Major of the Military Government of Paris, on 
THE Degradation, January 5, 1895, and on the Declara- 
tions MADE BY Captain Dreyfus to Captain Lebrun-Re- 
naud, of the Republican Guard. 

After having been placed, January 5, 1895, by the Military 
Government of Paris, at the disposition of General Darras, to 
assist at the military degradation of Captain Drejfus, J went 
that day at quarter past five in the morning to the Military 
School, cour Morland. Captain .... was ordered to verify 
the cards of representatives of the French Press, reserve and 
territorial officers, and to place them in the order which was 
arranged for them. 

The prison van, escorted by a squad of the Republican 
Guard commanded by Captain Lebrun-Renaud, entered the 
Military School at forty-five minutes past seven, and was 
stopped at the cour Morland, before the office of the adjutant 
of the garrison. Dreyfus stepped out and was conducted to 
this office and remained there until the moment when all the 
troops being in position, the captain of the garrison came, 
about five minutes before nine o'clock, to conduct him at nine 
o'clock to the place marked for the ceremony. 

Meeting Captain Lebrun-Renaud at the entrance of the 
office, he at once told me of his interview with Captain Drey- 
fus. At the first words, as it did not seem to me advisable 
that this should be limited to us two, and a group of officers 
being near us, I begged Captain Lebrun-Renaud to relate to 
them the confidences that Dreyfus had made to him, on ac- 
count of their importance and interest. 



This officer then told us that he had talked of Tahiti with 
Dreyfus, the place where he would probably be sent. He 
boasted that the climate would suit him very well and also his 
wife and children. Captain Dreyfus, showing him the braid 
on his dolman, told him that it was pride he had lost. He 
added this declaration, 'Tf I delivered these documents, they 
were without any value, and it was in order to procure more 
important ones." 

I guarantee the strict exactitude of the words underlined 
(they are all underlined), and the real meaning of these words, 
which are too characteristic to be ever forgotten by me. 

The first stroke of nine sounded; Dreyfus was degraded. 
He protested his innocence, passed before the front rank of 
troops, and stepped into the prison van which was waiting for 
him. It left at once, and Dreyfus was placed under civil 

I went without delay to the office of the adjutant of the 
garrison when the parade was finished, and took part in the 
passing of the troops before General Darras. After the 
departure of the last troop, I left the Military School myself 
and went to give a verbal account of the incidents of the 
morning to the military governor of Paris, as well as of the 
declarations made by the condemned to Captain Lebrun- 

In the evening, about half-past six, Commandant Picquart, 
who had been present at the execution, came to my office, 
Rue Cambon, to ask me for information in regard to the con 
fidences of Dreyfus, to the captain of the Republican Gua'd 
who had escorted him in the morning. I did not even know 
his name, and did not learn it until the next morning. He 
asked me if Dreyfus had indicated the nature of the docu- 
ments he had delivered. I could not give him anything pre- 
cise on the subject, and I proposed to him to have Captain 
Lebrun-Renaud come to my office either the next morning 
or the morning after, the next morning being Sunday. We 
left the Rue Cambon together; Commandant Picquart took 
me in his carriage as far as the Cours la Reine, where I left 
him, and he went to the Ministry. 

The convocation was, furthermore, useless: General Gonse, 
sub-chief of the Etat-Major, came on January 6 to the Etat- 



Major to ask Captain Lebrun-Renaud's address, went to 
find him, took to him the Ministry, which received his decla- 

(Signed) Lieutenant-Colonel Guerin. 

Paris, February 14, 1898. 

Copy certified September 16, 1898. 

What date is this report? You have noticed, gen- 
tlemen, it is February 14th, 1898. The degradation 
took place January 5th, 1895. Why did Lieutenant- 
Colonel Guerin prepare this report three years after? 
Evidently because, at that time, it was desired to get 
together all the reports that were in circulation on the 
incident which the Chamber of Deputies was just dis- 
cussing. But, as the Minister of War, Cavaignac, very 
justly said, preference should be given to the earlier 
testimony. Now, between what was reported as be- 
ing the declaration of Captain Lebrun-Renaud, made 
at the time of the degradation and the vague remem- 
brances of Colonel Guerin, there is a profound differ- 
ence. According to the version attributed the next 
morning to Captain Lebrun-Renaud, Dreyfus should 
have said, "The Minister knows that I am innocent, 
he sent me word to that effect by Commandant Du 
Paty de Clam, in my prison, three or four days ago. 
The Minister knows very well that if I delivered docu- 
ments, they were without value, and that it was in or- 
der to procure more important ones." Of these protes- 
tations of innocence, of the intervention of the Min- 
ister convinced of this innocence, there is no longer 
any trace in the report of Colonel Guerin. 

Two explanations are possible: Either Captain 
Lebrun-Renaud, who should, it would seem, have re- 
served for his chiefs so grave a confidence, spoke a lit- 



tie carelessly before his comrades who were anxious 
to fathom the state of mind of the condemned; or Cap- 
tain Lebrun-Renaud gave his comrades the same ver- 
sion which he was to furnish the next day, and it is 
then that it was realized how the truth can be per- 
verted in passing from mouth to mouth. . . . Our 
great fabulist has written a charming apologue upon 
this, and although it applies to women, men and even 
soldiers may profit by it. We have not the slightest 
doubt that within a few weeks it was considered as an 
averred fact among those who were not thoroughly 
acquainted with the state of afifairs, that Dreyfus had 
made avowals; it was such a relief to know that no 
mistake had been made! 

The same reservation should be made about the 
testimony of Captain d'Attel cited before the Chamber. 

Captain Lebrun-Renaud, it has been said, is not the 
only witness who received confessions from Dreyfus; 
another officer, Captain d'Attel, also received them 
and transmitted them immediately to officers who tes- 
tify thereupon. Captain d'Attel died a short time after 
under rather tragical circumstances. But we have the 
declarations of officers who received the assertions 
furnished by him. Here are these declarations: — 

"Captain Anthoine has the honour to state that the day of 
the degradation of Dreyfus, he met in coming out of the room 
where Dreyfus had been locked up, Captain d'Attel, his 
friend, who had been on duty, belonging to the staff of the 

"D'Attel told Captain Anthoine that Dreyfus had just said 
before him: 'For what I have given up, it was not worth the 
trouble. If they had left me alone, I would have had more in 

"Captain Anthoine immediately repeated this to Com- 
mander de Mitry." 



Here is another declaration: — 

"Commander de Mitry has the honour to bear witness 

Captain Anthoine repeated to him the conversation which he 
had just had with Captain d'Attel, of the staff, since deceased. 
Captain Anthoine told him substantially that Dreyfus had 
made remarks in presence of d'Attel, from which it resulted 
that if Dreyfus gave up documents he did so with the view of 
obtaining some in exchange for them." 

M. Cavaignac, whose principle it is that preference 
must be given to the testimonies of the very day, does 
not indicate the date of these testimonies; but as they 
have only been occasioned by the death of Captain 
d'Attel, it is to be inferred that these contributions to 
the inquiry are very tardy, like those of LieutCol. 
Guerin, and you have had opportunity to remark that 
we arrive at the attestations of the third degree, Com- 
mander de Mitry declaring that Captain Anthoine has 
told him that Captain d'Attel had reported to him a 
certain remark made by Dreyfus .... How is it 
that Captain d'Attel himself, who has played an official 
part in this dismal ceremony, was not examined at the 
opportunte moment and by whom it may concern? 

It is upon these elements, the fragility of which need 
not be demonstrated, that the following conclusion has 
been arrived at. 

"Either men's testimony will never more have any value or 
else it results from these precise and harmonious testimonies 
that Dreyfus has pronounced this sentence: 'If I have given 
up these documents,' etc. 

"Well, I weigh these words in my conscience. These 
avowals are denied; it will perhaps be said to-morrow that 
they have wrenched by threats and by promises; no matter 
what people may have imagined to have been the motive, I 
declare upon my conscience that I cannot admit that a man 
can have pronounced these words: 'If I have given up these 



documents . . . . ' if he has not really given them up. — M. 
Cavaignac's Speech at the Chamber of Deputies, July 7, 1898. 

Is this conclusion justified? We will prove to you, 
by M. Cavaignac's own speech, that upon this point 
the Minister deviates quite involuntarily from the text 
attributed to Captain Lebrun-Renaud ; but one may 
go further, one may think that the text, supposing it 
to be exact, would not authorize the conclusion drawn 
from it by the orator. If Dreyfus had admitted that 
he was guilty of letting himself be allured, it does not 
follow that he would have admitted he was a traitor 
and the author of the bordereau. It would, on the con- 
trary, have been a defence against the accusation of 
espionage. Suppose that this defence had been pro- 
duced before a court-martial and that it had been ad- 
mitted to be well founded? Would Dreyfus have been 
declared guilty of treason? Evidently not. 

However, we will not dwell any longer on this way 
of looking upon the matter, for the true text (we mean 
that which would have been produced the day after 
the degradation) excludes far more powerfully still 
the interpretation which has seemed so legitimate to 
the Minister of War. It is to himself that we apply 
for the text. 

"These words having been published, Captain Lebrun- 
Renaud, one of the officers of whom I have spoken, was 
ordered to appear at the Ministry of War, and there, before 
the Minister of War, he related what he had heard. He had 
been conducted to the Ministry of War by General Gonse, 
who remained during the conversation, and who, on the 6th 
of January, 1895, wrote to General de Boisdeffre, who was 
away, the letter which I will read. 

"I hasten to tell you that I have myself conducted Captain 
Lebrun-Renault of the Garde Republicane before the Minis- 



ter who, after having heard him, sent him to the President. 
In a general way, Captain Lebrun-Renault's conversation 
with Dreyfus was chiefly a monologue of the latter, who con- 
tradicted and corrected himself incessantly. The following 
were the prominent features: — 

" 'Upon the whole, no original documents have been given 
up, but merely copies.' Coming from an individual who al- 
ways declares that he knows nothing, this phrase, to say the 
least, was a singular one. Then, protesting that he is not 
guilty, he ended by saying: 'The Minister knows that I am 
innocent, he has sent Commander du Paty de Clam to tell 
me so in prison, three or four days ago, and he knows that 
if I have given up documents, they are documents of no im- 
portance, and chat I gave them up in order to obtain more 
serious ones.' 

"The Captain concluded by expressing the opinion that 
Dreyfus made partial avowals or began an avowal mingled 
with reticences and falsehoods." 

I resume M. Cavaignac's speech: — 

"Captain Lebrun-Renault himself inscribed the same day, 
January 6th, upon a leaf taken from his memorandum book, 
the following note, which is still in his hands: — 

"Yesterday, degradation of Captain Dreyfus. Having been 
requested to take him from the prison of the Cherche-Midi to 
the Military School, I remained with him from 8 till 9 o'clock. 
He was very dejected; asserted that within three years his 
innocence would be recognized. At about half-past 8, with- 
out my asking him, he told me : 'The Minister knows very 
well that if I gave up documents they were of no value, and 
that I did it to procure myself more important ones.' He 
requested me to give orders to the adjutant charged to de- 
grade him, to accomplish this mission as speedily as pos- 

From this document, the only contemporary docu- 
ment presented, it results that Dreyfus never ceased 
to protest that he was innocent; that he asserted that 
the Minister knew that he was innocent, and that he 
gave as a proof thereof that the Minister knew very 



well that if he had given up documents, these docu- 
ments were of no importance, and that it was done 
with the view to obtain serious ones. Now five days 
before the convict had addressed to his counsel. Me. 
Demange, the following note which clearly explains 
these words : 

"Commander du Paty came to-day, 31st of December, 1894, 
at half-past five in the evening, after the rejection of the ap- 
peal, to ask me on behalf of the Minister, if I had not perhaps 
been victim of my own imprudence, if I had not simply been 
wanting to decoy, and if afterwards I had not let myself be 
drawn into a fatal succession of circumstances. I answered him 
that I had never had any connection with any agent or at- 
tache of any foreign Power, that I had never tried to inveigle 
anyone that I was innocent. After Commander du Paty'.^ 
departure I wrote the following letter to the Minister: 

" 'In conformity with your order I have received the visit 
of Commander du Paty de Clam, to whom I have again de- 
clared that I was innocent, that I had even never committed 
an imprudence. I am condemned. I have no favour to ask 
except that for the sake of my honour, which I hope 
will be restored to me some day, once I am gone, unceasing 
enquiries be made; this is the only favour I ask.' " 

This is what took place the day of the degradation. 
The convict said: 

The Minister knows that I am innocent, he has sent some 
body to tell me so; he knows that if I have given up docu- 
ments without importance, it was to obtain some serious 
ones; that is to say, he knows that at all events I am not a 
traitor, and he lets me sufTer. 

The Ministerial version haunted the mind of the con- 
vict and he invoked it as a supreme protestation. 

It is superfluous to point out how the slightest varia- 
tion might accentuate the sense of the phrase. Put: 
"The Minister has sent some one to tell me that if I 
have given up documents . . . ." or "The Min- 



ister believes that if I have given up documents . . ." 
or again: "The Minister knows that if I had given 
up documents . . . .'', and -there no more remains 
the sHghtest room for a discussion. It was therefore 
very important to make an official, or at least, an or- 
dinary report such as all officers of the police charged 
with a mission, are in the habit of furnishing, of the 
expressions used by the convict; to verify them by ques- 
tioning the convict, in short to make an enquiry, since 
these expressions appeared to throw a new light upon 
the affair. It was perhaps an occasion to appoint a 
competent functionary for the purpose of making an 
enquiry. Nothing of the kind was done. 

General Gonse in his letter to the Chief of the Court- 
Martial General, confines himself to giving the im- 
pressions of Captain Lebrun-Renaud. "Captain Le- 
brun-Renaud has concluded," he says, ''by expressing 
the opinion that Dreyfus made avowals or commence- 
ments of avowals mingled with reticences and false- 

If Dreyfus had control enough over himself to en- 
velope his avowals with reticences and falsehoods, it is 
hard to understand how he could have divulged a com- 
promising secret to an officer of the police who only 
remained with him an instant, when he had resisted 
without failing during the examination with which you 
are acquainted, and again when proclaiming his inno- 
cence while going through the torture of being de- 
graded, and when he knew he would have to continue 
to proclaim his innocence indefinitely without growing 
weak or tired. 

It seems that such was at that time the belief of the 
Government, and if the question itself has not been 



thoroughly investigated, it is because it was thought 
that it was of no importance. 


My darling: To tell you what I have suffered to-day, I 
do not wish; your grief is so great that I am not going to 
increase it. 

In promising you to live, in promising you to resist until 
my name and honour are re-established, I have made the 
greatest sacrifice that a man of heart, an honest man whose 
honour has just been snatched away from him, can make. 
Provided, my God, that my physical forces do not fail me! 
My conscience, which in no way reproaches me, sustains me; 
but I am near the end of patience and strength; to have con- 
secrated all my life to honour, never to have sullied it, and to 
see myself where I am, after having been subjected to the 
most outrageous affront that can be inflicted on a soldier ! 

So, my darling, do everything in the world to find the real 
culprit, do not give it up for a single instant. It is my only 
hope in the horrible misfortune which follows me. 

I will tell you later, when we are happy again, what I have 
suffered to-day, how many times, in the midst of these numer- 
ous peregrinations among real criminals (he speaks of the 
common law prisoners confined at La Sante), my heart has 
bled. I asked myself what I was doing there, why I was 
there! It seemed to me that I was the victim of a hallucina- 
tion. But alas, my clothes torn and soiled, brutally recall the 
truth to me; contemptuous glances that are cast upon me tell 
me too clearly why I am here. 

Oh, alas! why can we not open, with a scalpel, the heart of 
people and read therein! All good people who saw me pass 
would read there, graven in letters of gold: "That man is a 
man of honour!" But how I understand them! In their 
place, I should have nothing but the highest contempt at the 
sight of an officer who was said to be a traitor. 

But, alas, that is what is tragic: this traitor is not I. 



(The Same Day.) 
I have the courageous soul of the soldier, I ask myself if 1 
have the heroic soul of the martyr. 

(The Same Day.) 
Cheer up! I retain all my energy, strong in my pure and 
spotless conscience. I belong to my family. I owe it to my 
good name, I have not the right to desert while there remains 
in me a breath of life, I will struggle with the hope of soon 
seeing the light dawn. So, pursue all researches. . . . The 
physical sufferings are nothing, you know that I do not fear 
them; but my moral tortures are far from being finished. O 
my darling, what was I doing the day that I promised you to 
live? I really believed that my soul was stronger. To be 
always resigned when one is innocent, that is easy to say, but 
hard to do. 



[From the Report of M. Ballot-Beaupre, May 2pth, iSpp.] 

Here is the judgment, on Lieutenant-Colonel Du 
Paty de Clam, by Commandant Cuignet. 

"Du Paty is a proud fellow, vain even, whose vanity is still 
increased by the success of his career; he has always been, 
according to those who know him, on the watch for oppor- 
tunities that would place him in the foreground. He is, at the 
same time, of a character easily influenced, has an insinuating 
disposition, knows well how to make a good impression on 
his chiefs; he is what we call, in military slang, a 'smoke- 

''He was on the best of terms with General de Boisdoffre, 
and when the Dreyfus affair came up, it was he who pushed 
the arrest, and who had himself designated as an ofhcer of the 
judicial police. 

"When Dreyfus was arrested in the office of General de 
BoisdefTre, M. Gochefort, who was present at the time, said to 
the General: 

" 'Leave me a little time ; in an hour or two from now, I will 
know what he has in his stomach (ventre).' 

"Du Paty protested that it was purely a military affair; he 
evidently feared that the honour of the confession would es- 
cape him, and he imagined, there and then, the scene of the 
dictation, hoping by this means to obtain the admissions of 

Dreyfus was, therefore, arrested immediately, and 
he was taken to the prison of Cherche-Midi by Henry, 
who in the carriage made him talk, and prepared an 
account of their conversation for the purpose of im- 
puting a lie to him: — 

"Then I found myself in a room adjoining the one where 
he (Captain Dreyfus) was interrogated, and I heard, per- 
fectly and very distinctly. Commandant du Paty say to him, 
'You are accused of having delivered to a foreign Power a 



note upon covered troops, a note on Madagascar, a projected 
manual on artillery firing'; when Captain Dreyfus asserted 
that Commandant du Paty had not enumerated to him any 
of the documents in question, and that he confined himself to 
speaking of secret or confidential documents, Captain Drey- 
fus knowingly concealed the truth." 

If there had been a lie, it was not Dreyfus who was 
guilty of it, but Henry himself. 

In fact, according to the ofificial text of the interrogatory by 
Du Paty de Clam, which, the 15th of October, preceded the 
incarceration, Dreyfus had only in a vague manner been 
accused of high treason. 

Du Paty de Clam had not said to him, "You are 
accused of having delivered to a foreign Power a note 
on covered troops, a note on Madagascar and a pro- 
posed manual on artillery firing." 

Du Paty de Clam had not said any more to him, in 
the subsequent interrogatories of the i8th, 22nd and 
24th October, in the course of which he had merely 
shown some detached words (of the incriminating 
note), without yet determining the accusation. 

The 24th, particularly, the following colloquy took 
place between them. 

"Q. — You know then of what you are accused, when you 
said a little while ago that you did not know? 

"A. — I am always told that I have stolen documents, with 
out being shown the foundation for the accusation; I ask that 
I be shown the incriminating papers, and I shall perhaps un- 
derstand then the infernal plot or web that is being woven 
around me." 

It was only on October 29th that also in terms vol- 
untarily inexact, Du Paty de Clam said to him : "Here 
is the photograph of a letter which is attributed to you. 
This letter was taken abroad by means of a photo- 
graphic portfolio, and we are in possession of the film 



negative. Do you recognize this letter as being in 
your handwriting?" 

And on the 31st he addressed to the Minister a re- 
port containing statements which do not figure in the 
interrogatory signed by Dreyfus; for example: "On 
two occasions I pretended to go out to send to the for- 
eign agent to whom the incriminating document had 
been addressed, the letter that Captain Dreyfus had 
just written from my dictation. Each time he stopped 
me the moment I opened the door; the third time 
only, having again become master of himself, he said 
to me, 'Oh, well, try.' '' 

Nevertheless, said Commandant Cuignet, M. Du 
Paty de Clam asked himself if the Minister would find 
the charges sufficient and would transmit the dossier 
to the military governor of Paris; Henry, on his side, 
had the same thought. 

It was necessary under these conditions, in order 
to force the hand of the Minister of War, General 
Mercier, to noise abroad the affair, which until then 
had remained absolutely secret. 

The 28th of October, an editor of the journal the 
Libre Parole, M. Papillaud, received this letter: — 

My dear friend, I told you so; it is Captain Dreyfus, who 
lives at 6, Avenue du Trocadero, who was arrested the iSth 
for being a spy, and who is in prison at the Cherche-Midi Jail. 
They say that he is traveling, but it is a lie, because they wish 
to keep the afifair quiet. All Israel is moving. Truly yours, 


The 31st, the Eclair announced the arrest of a Jew- 
ish officer. 

And November ist, the Libre Parole, the violent anti- 
Semitic newspaper, had in large letters: High treason, 
arrest of the Jewish OMcer, A. Dreyfus. 



"As the journals had commenced to publish the 
affair," said General Mercier, ''I asked the President 
of the Council to convene the Cabinet, which decided, 
All Saints Day, to put Dreyfus in the hands of military 

Is it Henry himself who had written the letter of 
October 28th? M. Papillaud, in the Libre Parole of 
April 3rd, 1899, declares — "For me this letter has only 
the value of an anonymous letter, as I do not know 
by whom it is signed.'' 

But Commandant Cuignet believes that the indis- 
cretion originated with Du Paty de Clam, who else- 
where denies it. 

"Du Paty, indulged, for his own benefit, in reprehensible 
acts; it is he who, without the knowledge of his chiefs, 
informed the Press of the arrest of Dreyfus, which had been 
kept back by the Government for fifteen days; he wished in 
this way to force the hand of the Government and have the 

This manoeuvre — whoever may have been its author 
— (du Paty de Clam or Henry) — had then succeeded. 

On the 3rd of November, the order for an inquiry 
was given. 

And Commandant d'Ormescheville heard, in his ex- 
amination, Henry, who, under oath, '^maintained ex- 
actly the terms of his report," that is to say, the impu- 
tation of a lie directed against Dreyfus, when it was 
the imputation itself that was untruthful. 

The examination finished, the Council of War was 
convened for the 19th of December, and during four 
days sat behind closed doors. 

Du Paty de Clam and Henry were both summoned 
as witnesses. 

The attitude of the first is characterized in a note 




which before the pleading Dreyfus sent to his advo- 
cate, Me. Demange. This note is wholly in the hand 
of the accused. 

"Without Commandant du Paty the whole accusation 
would already have fallen; it is he who stirs up hate. Has he 
the right thus to come constantly intervening in the debates? 
One would surely say that it was he who directed them." 

Henry had an attitude still more significant. 

He was delegated by the Minister of War to testify 
in the name of the Information Bureau. 

General Zurlinden explains: ''As in all trials for 
espionage, an officer from the Information Bureau 
was delegated by the Minister of War to testify in the 
name of the service; the officer designated was 

It is in the name of the Information Bureau, in the 
name of the Chief of the General Staff, in the name 
of the Minister himself, that Henry spoke to the 
Council of War. 

His word, therefore, must have considerable weight 
in the balance! 

And what did he say? 

Here is the note of Dreyfus: 

"After the deposition of Commandant Henry, unmeaning 
enough, Commandant Paty du Clam had him called to the 
bar. Commandant Henry has, then, made a terrible declara- 
tion, but without any proof. It is an infamy to come forward 
and make such a declaration without bringing any testimony 
to bear it out. To accuse an officer at the bar without bring- 
ing any proof — it is monstrous!" 

And Me. Demange added this comment: 

Commandant Henry was heard twice by the audience. The 
first time he said nothing new; then he asked to be heard a 
second time; he then declared with a solemn tone, that since 



the month of February, a person absolutely honourable* had 
stated to him that an officer of the Ministry of War was 
a traitor, and that in the month of March the same person 
had renewed his assertion, adding that it was an officer of the 
Second Bureau. 

"Dreyfus who, in the first six months of 1894, was in the 
second bureau, asked with violence that the honourable person 
be called by the Council of War; I, in my turn, insisted with 
energy, demanding the name of this honourable person, and 
calling upon the witness, in the name of the oath he had 
taken, to tell the whole truth. Commandant Henry replied to 
me 'When an officer has a terrible secret in his head, he does 
not confide it even to his cap'; then turning towards Drey- 
fus: 'I assert, myself, that the traitor is there!' " 

The Councillor of State, M. Lepine, who in his offt- 
cial capacity as Prefect of Police, attended the debates, 
expresses himself in these terms : 

"The deposition of Commandant Henry .... it was 
very short; it lasted some minutes hardly; it bore upon the 
suspicions of the StaflF, upon the discovery of the bordereau. 
Some brief, categorical phrases; it would be impossible for 
me to quote from memory the terms of this sensational depo- 
sition; but the tone, the gestures, the attitude of the com- 
mandant, I see them yet. It was the apparition of the judge. 
When I recall at the end of four years this vision of Henry 
raising his hand, the Cross of the Legion of Honour on his 
large chest, it seems to me that there were only two words in 
his deposition: 'It is he, I know it, I swear it!' " 

But how did Henry know that during the first six 
months of 1894, an officer of the 2nd bureau was guilty 
of treason? 

It was — according to General Roget — through an 
agent of the Information Bureau, who, in two reports 

(* It has been proved at the Rennes Court Martial thai 
this "honourable person" was a foreigner in the pay of the 
War Office. 



of the 28th of March and the 6th of April, 1894, had 
declared that he knew from an honourable person, 

occupying a high position in Paris, M. de B , 

that among the officers of the Staff, belonging or hav- 
ing recently belonged to, the 2nd bureau, was a traitor; 
and M. de B . . . . had personally in June follow- 
ing, furnished verbal information to Henry of the 
same nature. 

On this we must make three comments: 

I. That in the Picquart testimony we read: "I know 
perfectly the person called honourable, and if it is impossiblc 
for me to name him without asking the authorization of the 
Minister, I can at least, if you desire it, say a word on the 
subject. This person, I have characterized as worthless, and 
in my opinion, he is nothing else; he was in relations with 
the foreign diplomatic world, and related to Henry either 
directly, or by the intermediary of a police officer of lower 
grade, named Guenee, what was said between military at- 
taches, and he repeated it, often without taking into account 
the value of what he heard. I have at another time given to 
this man, through Henry, a sum of 1,200 francs to reward 
him for his services. 

2nd. That in the reports of the agent Guenee of March 28th 
and April 6th, there is no question of an ofBcer of the 2nd 

3rd. That in a note addressed to the Keeper of Seals on 
September loth, 1898, the Minister of War, General Zurlin- 
den, merely said: 

"Two months later, in 1894, in a conversation with Com- 
mandant Henry, M. de B returned to the same question, 

and renewed his accusation, fixing and specifying that the 
correspondent of A and of B was an officer belonging or hav- 
ing belonged recently to the second Bureau. 

M. de B . . . had he really furnished this infor- 

Nothing establishes it. 

But the deposition of Henry, who asserted it as 



delegate of the Minister of War, had for this reason, 
even more than that of Du Paty de Clam, an excep- 
tional importance. 

It remains to examine if the further conduct of the 
two witnesses did not take away all value, all guaran- 
tees of sincerity, from the declarations that they made 
in 1894 before the Council of War, and if the authority 
for the judgment given is not found from that time 
necessarily shaken. 

The complaints against them all had their origin in 
the suspicions which in 1896 Lieutenant-Colonel Pic- 
quart, who had succeeded Colonel Sandherr as chief of 
the section of statistics since July ist preceding, had 
conceived and expressed, in regard to Walsin-Ester- 
hazy, chief of battalion, whom he considered the author 
of the bordereau. 

In what way were these suspicions really roused? 
Had they been caused by the discover}^ of a telegram, 
of a petit bleu, received at the Information Bureau in 
March, 1896, and presented in August by M. Picquart 
to General Gonse as compromising Esterhazy, to 
whom a foreign agent would have addressed it? 

Was the telegram authentic, or was it false? 

Under these circumstances, had Picquart taken for 
confidant one of his friends — ^I. Leblois, lawyer, and 
had he shown him secret papers, interesting to the se- 
curity of the State? 

It must be remembered that Picquart, having col- 
lected information derogatory to the morality of 
Esterhazy and his involved financial situation, having 
learned also, from an interview arranged outside of 
France between Commandant Henry, aided by Cap- 
tain Lauth, and a foreign agent, R. C, that a French 



chief of battalion, aged from forty-five to fifty years, 
was said to have given information in 1893 or 1894 
in regard to a gun on trial at Chalons camp, on the 
new rapid firing cannon, and on fortification works 
in the East — having succeeded at last in procuring 
letters in Esterhazy's handwriting, wished to make the 
Chief of Stafif and the Minister share his conviction 
that the author of the bordereau was Esterhazy, and 
not Dreyfus. 

It is important to remember, on the other hand, that 
the officers under orders at the Section of Statistics, 
were disturbed by these steps; that particularly. Com- 
mandant Henry had resolved to counteract Picquart's 
work, to ruin his authority in the eyes of Generals de 
Boisdefifre, and Gonse, and that, with this object in 
view, he allied himself with the legal police officer of 
the Dreyfus trial, Lieutenant-Colonel du Paty de Clam. 

Then, to reply to the production of the petit bleu and 
to a note of September ist, 1896, in which Lieutenant- 
Colonel Picquart gave his opinion on the guilt of Es- 
terhazy, appeared successively two false documents. 

September 4th, 1896, the "Weyler forgery (No. 372 
of the secret dossier); it is a letter sent to the Minister 
of Colonies to be forwarded to Dreyfus; in this letter, 
whose characters are strangely twisted, the signature, 
a pretended Weyler, announces the approaching mar- 
riage of his daughter. But between the lines was 
written in invisible ink this phrase: "Impossible to un- 
derstand last communication; necessary to return to 
the old system; let me know the word for the cup- 
boards, and where the documents taken away can be 
found; actor ready to act at once." 

Commandant Cuignet declared, before the Criminal 



Chamber of the Court of Cassation, that, to his mind, 
this paper, fraudulently prepared to increase the 
charges against Dreyfus, was the work of Du Paty de 
Clam. But the latter denies it. 

The second fraud, October 31st to November 2nd, 
1896, is the Henry forgery; we will return to him. 

Meanwhile the Eclair inserted in its number of Sep- 
tember 15th, the article relating the communication 
which, at the Council of War of 1894, had been made 

in regard to the paper "This rascal D " (canaille 

de D ), wherein the words "that rascal D " had 

been replaced by "that animal Dreyfus." Comman- 
dant Cuignet also attributes this article to Du Paty de 

Nevertheless, they had succeeded in persuading 
General Billot that Picquart, who had been sent on a 
mission, should be replaced by Henry, himself, as 
Chief of the Bureau of Statistics. 

And, a month after Picquart's departure, a letter, 
which was said to be addressed to him, signed "Sper- 
anza," intended to destroy him, was detained at the 
]\'Iinistry of War (he did not know it until a year after) ; 
it was another counterfeit of which du Paty de Clam 
pretends to have had no knowledge. 

But it was already felt that a campaign was going 
to be undertaken for the revision of the Dreyfus trial. 
M. Bernard Lazare had published a pamphlet entitled, 
"A Judicial Error." The relatives and friends of the 
condemned man were moving, and Senator Scheurer- 
Kestner, convinced of his innocence, had on Sep- 
tember I2th, 1897, when at Belfort, announced to a 
superior officer of the Staff his intention to follow up 
the revision. As indicated in a recent letter from him, 



published with his authorisation, he had been begged 
by this officer, on October i6th, in the name of the 
■Minister, not to make any beginning without seeing 

Therefore, on the i6th of October, at the General 
Staff, it was decided to warn Esterhazy, in order that 
he could be on his guard. 

An anonymous letter, signed P. D. C. (is it Paty de 
Clam?), had been sent to the Minister to delay action; 
and a meeting took place, in which the question was 
discussed whether they should write under cover of 
an assumed name to Esterhazy, whose address Henry 
had found through Gribelin, keeper of records in the 


"It is true," said Du Paty de Clam, "that there was a meet- 
ing in which the means of warning Esterhazy were discussed, 
and among the suggestions was that of an anonymous letter, 
whose composition was modified twice. One of these letters 
was almost a verbatim copy of an anonymous letter written to 
the address of the Ministry. The other was much shorter and 
was composed by Colonel Henry." 

"The letters must still be in existence; they were not sent. 
The last time that I saw the dossiers in which these letters 
ought to be, they were at the Staff ofifice." 

"One day," said General Billot, "I do not recall the exact 
date, General Gonse, in his midday report, when giving me 
different anonymous documents, announced that a campaign 
was going to be made to accuse Commandant Esterhazy of 
being the author of the treason for which Dreyfus had been 
condemned. General Gonse asked me, as well as the Council- 
lor who had come to call me and who had mentioned to him 
a note verified by M. Gonse, my opinion, and said that he had 
asked the Minister if it would not be in order to warn this 
officer by an anonymous letter. 

"I replied to General Gonse that not only would I not 
authorize a communication of this nature, but I should forbid 
it in a formal manner. 



"In the evening, at six o'clock, I notified General de Bois- 
deffre of this incident at the time of the report, and I told 
him to renew to General Gonse the order that I had given 

"The next morning, at the noon report, General Gonse, 
when I questioned him, replied that he had received from 
General de Boisdefifre the confirmation of my orders." 

Esterhazy nevertheless received, the i8th or 20th, a 
letter signed "Esperance," which we quote: 

"Your name is going to be the object of a great scandal. 
The Dreyfus family are going to accuse you publicly of being 
the author of the writing which served as the cause of the 
trial of Dreyfus. This family has numerous models of your 
writing to use as points in the examination. A colonel who 
was at the Ministry last year, M. Piqart, gave the papers to 
the Dreyfus family. This gentleman has now left for Tonkin, 
I believe. The Dreyfus family count on making you wild by 
publishing specimens of your handwriting in the journals, 
and making you flee to your relatives in Hungary. This 
will indicate that you are guilty; and then the revision of the 
trial will be asked for in order to have the innocence of Drey- 
fus proclaimed. It is M. Piqart who gave the information to 
the family. This M. Piqart brought your handwriting from 
sub-chiefs at Rouen last year. I hear all that from a sergeant 
of your regiment, to whom they gave money to have your 
handwriting. You are now well warned of what these scoun- 
drels will do to ruin you. It is for you now to defend your 
name and honour of your children. Make haste, for the 
family are going to take steps to ruin you. 

"Your devoted friend, 


"Do not show this letter to any one. It is for y'ou alone, 
and to save you from the great dangers which threaten you." 

M. du Paty de Clam, before the Criminal Chamber, 
on January 12th last, declared that he was not the 
author of this letter. 

But had he not himself admitted the contrary on the 
loth of September preceding", before General Ren- 



ouard, who, in his Report the next morning to the 
Minister of War, said, "Questioned on the circum- 
stances which had given him a knowledge of the in- 
tended campaign projected and undertaken against 
Esterhazy, Lieutenant-Colonel du Paty de Clam pre- 
tends that having received orders from his chiefs to 
prepare successively two drafts of anonymous letters 
destined to warn Esterhazy, letters that he also claimed 
had not been sent — he concluded from this that they 
proposed, by charging him with this work, to make 
him au courant with the afifair in order to incite him 
to warn Esterhazy." 

General Roget also does not hesitate to say, "I have 
been able to secure the certainty that the letter of 
October 26th, 1897, signed "Esperance" .... is 
that of du Paty." 

Be that as it may, Esterhazy was warned; he 
hastened to Paris, and incredible scenes took place. 

Esterhazy said before the Criminal Chamber: — 

"In October, 1897, I was in the countrj% when I received 
on October i8th (I was told to say that it was the 20th) a 
letter; this letter was signed 'Esperance.' 

"On receipt of this letter, whose handwriting I did not 
know, I was very much surprised and started for Paris. 

"I went to the Rue de Douai I would have it understood 
that, until then, I had concealed, in the strictest manner, my 
relations with Mme. Pays, and I thought that only a very few 
persons at the Ministry of War, and under conditions that I 
will explain later, could know of them. 

"I had telegraphed to Mme. Pays, who was in Normandy. 
to return. 

"The morning after my arrival I was very much occupied 
with this letter, and in the evening, on returning about the 
dinner hour, I learned from the concierge (animated at that 
time by different sentiments from those she has since mani- 



fested), that a gentleman had been to inquire for me. I was 
very much surprised; no one, in fact, knew of this address. 

"The concierge told me that she had declared to this gen- 
tleman that I was unknown; he replied that he knew perfectly 
well that I was in the house; that, furthermore, he had come 
in my interest, and that it was absolutely necessary for him to 
see me; he had told her that he would return in the evening. 

"1 went to my home, 27, Rue de la Bienfaisance, where I 
could not get in, having left the keys in the country. 

'"I asked the concierge if any one had been to inquire for 
me. I thought that any one who wanted to see me would 
first go to my only known residence. 

"The concierge said she had seen no one. 

"I returned then to the Rue de Douai, and waited all the 

"No one came. 

"The next morning at an early hour (half-past seven) the 
concierge came up and told me that the gentleman who came 
the night before was waiting in the street, near the Square 

"I went down, and I found some one with blue spectacles, 
and whose whole bearing, in spite of his efforts, stamped him 
as a soldier. 

"This gentleman came to me and said: 

" 'Commandant, I am charged with a very grave commun- 
ication in your urgent interest.' 

"The manner of this man, the certainty I had that no one 
outside of the Ministry could know that I might be at the Rue 
de Douai, caused me to at once suppose that I was in the 
presence of a messenger from the Ministry of War. 

"I replied to this man that I thought I knew the object of 
his visit, and that I had received in the country a letter con- 
taining a very singular announcement. This person then 
said: — 

" 'Do not be uneasy, my commandant; we know what there 
is in all that; you have defenders and protectors who are very 
powerful and an coiirant with everything. Will you come this 
evening to the rendezvous that I am going to indicate?' 

"I said to him: 'Very willingly.' 



"And he then showed me a piece of paper, indicating the 
angle of the Reservoir for the waters of the Vanne, opposite 
the Park of Montsouris. 

"The rendezvous was for five o'clock. 

"I went to the place at the time mentioned, and, at pre- 
cisely five o'clock, I saw a carriage stop at a point about one 
hundred yards from where I was, in which there were three 

"Two of these persons stepped out; the third remained in 
the carriage; the other two came to me. In one I recognized 
the man I had seen in the morning. The other had a false 
beard and spectacles. The latter person spoke to me quickly, 

" 'Commandant, you know what this means?' 

"And very rapidly, with great volubility, he related all that 
had been done against me since 1894 by Colonel Picquart, 
entering into numerous details on the manoeuvres of many 
important persons — things which at that time were absolutely 
new to me. 

"This man also assured me, seeing the profound surprise 
that I manifested at all this news, that all these machinations 
were known, foreseen; repeated to me that I had the most 
powerful defenders, and that I must only obey strictly the 
instructions which would be given me, that my name would 
not even be mentioned. 

"I tried at various times to make him tell who he was, but 
without succeeding. 

"I saw, however, that he was an officer; I should have been 
glad to know who he was and from whom he came. 

"He told me at the end of half an hour's conversation, not 
to be disturbed; that I should be kept au courant, and that I 
should be every day in the waiting-room of the Military Club 
at five o'clock, where the first man would come to find me if 
there was anything to tell me. 

"They left me, telling me to go away in a certain direction; 
they left from the side where the carriage was, so that I could 
not see the third person who had remained in the carriage. 

"The next morning, at the same hour as the day before, 
the concierge brought me a line in pencil saying: — 



" 'In the cab, before a certain number, Rue Vintmille.' 

"I went in all haste; I found the man with the false beard, 
who said to me : 'Get in quickly, and told me to indicate a 
place where we could have a long talk without being dis- 

"I said to him: 'I do not know any other place around 
here than the Cemetery of Montmartre, if you wish to go 

"We went there, and then this man said to me: — 

" 'You must ask at once for an audience with the Minister 
of War, and we will state what you are to say to him (because 
I had asked : "Demand an audience of the Minister, to tell him 
what? To show him this letter that I have received"?) He 
then answered: 

" 'No, we will arrange what you are to say to him.' 

"I then said to him: 

" 'But all this is very well, I see that you are an officer. I 
discern that you come from the Ministry, I should very much 
like to know who you are ? 

" 'The man replied: 

" 'I am Colonel du Paty de Clam, of the stafif of the army. 
And you have only to do what I tell you.' 

"I did not know Colonel du Paty de Clam. 

"I had met him once for an hour, sixteen or seventeen 
years before, at a meeting of two columns in Africa. In view 
of his grade and his capacity, I said to him: — 

" 'This is sufficient, my colonel; you can count on my ab- 
solute obedience.' 

"Then Colonel du Paty de Clam dictated to me in the 
cemetery itself a request for an audience with the Minister, 
gave me to understand that he would have to make a report 
of what had passed, and gave me a rendezvous for the same 

"He had said nothing about the rendezvous at the Military 
Club; I went there, however, and I found the first gentle- 
man, who made me get into a carriage, and took me slowly 
as far as the Cirque d'Hiver. 

"He told me, with many details, all the machinations of 
which I knew nothing. He assured me that I was perfectly 



well known and laid great stress on the high protection of 
which he had spoken to me the day before. 

"I had addressed my letter to the Minister. 

"In the evening, I again saw at the meeting-place indicated, 
Colonel du Paty de Clam, who made me write from his dicta- 
tion, notes in regard to what I was to say to General Billot. 
The same evening I found Colonel Henry in a carriage before 
my door. 

"Colonel Henry was one of my comrades. I had been with 
him for more than twenty years in the Information Depart- 
ment, very soon after the organization of the department; I 
was there as lieutenant, and Henry also had the same grade 
and the same employment ; I had seen him very frequently 

"I knew later that the third person who remained in the 
carriage at the park of Montsouris was Colonel Henry. Henry 
then very briefly told me net to be alarmed, that all that 
Colonel du Paty de Clam had told me was entirely correct, 
and that, in high authority, they well knew what was going 
on, and were determined to defend me by the most extreme 
measures against what he called 'abominable manoeuvres.' " 

Are these assertions of Esterhazy exact? 

It is impossible, unfortunately, to have the least 
doubt in view of the statements of the Archivist, 
Gribelin, who accompanied them, and of Du Paty 

But let us continue the testimony of Esterhazy: 

"The next morning I was notified that I would be received 
the day after by General Millet, Director of Infantry, in the 
name of the Minister. 

"I saw Colonel du Paty, and I said to him: 

" 'Why General Millet? The chief of a sub-direction has 
nothing to see in such a matter. If the Minister did not wish 
to receive me, he should have arranged for the Chief of his 
Cabinet to do so, or rather, the Chief of the Staff of the army.' 

"In fact, the very wording of my request for an audience 
explained that it was on a matter important enough for the 
Chief of Staff. 



"The Colonel replied that it was not necessary to see 
General Boisdeffre, consequently, he must remain in reserve, 
thus indicating that General de Boisdeffre did not wish to 
take any active part. 

"I went to see General Millet; I presented the letter and I 
related to him what I had been instructed to say. 

"The general listened to me, and told me that he found it 
all very strange; that it was the first intimation he had of it; 
that he did not understand the story at all; that, in his opin- 
ion I attached a great deal of importance to an anonymous 
letter, and that he could only advise me to make a written 
statement of what I had just communicated to him, to enclose 
a copy of the anonymous letter that I had received, and to 
address the whole to the Minister. 

''The same evening I reported to Colonel du Paty de Clam 
the reply of General Millet, and he dictated to me the word- 
ing of a letter to address to the Minister; this letter, as well 
as all that I wrote in 1897, was given word for word as or- 

This letter was dictated to me word for word. It contained 
a series of explanations agreed upon, and the wording was 
given me for approval, as is proved by the note from Colonel 
du Paty. 

"Copy your letter and seal it well; keep the manuscript? 

Esterhazy resumed: 

"At the same time Colonel du Paty said to me: The Min- 
ister cannot do otherwise than tell General de Boisdeffre of 
the contents of this letter, and then we shall move.' 

"The next morning at the post-office in the Rue de Bac, 
opposite the Bon Marche, Colonel Henry informed me that 
General de Boisdeffre had not yet received from General Bil- 
lot any communication from my letter. 

"I insist upon this fact because if Colonel Henry was aware 
that General de Boisdeffre had not been informed by the 
Minister of the letter that I had written to the latter, he could 
only have been notified of it by General de Boisdeffre. then 
awaiting the effect of my letter, and consequently knowing 
the sender. 

"Henry said to me: 



"The Minister is going to keep that for five or six days be- 
fore taking any decision, according to his custom. You will 
be told this evening what to do. 

"That evening I saw Colonel du Paty on the Esplanade of 
the Invalides, and he said to me: 

" 'It is decided that you are to write to General de Bois- 
defifre directly; your letter will then permit General de Bois- 
deffre to intervene personally and to speak to the Minister of 
the letter that you have sent to the latter.' 

"In other words, it would induce the transmittal of my let- 
ter to General de Boisdeffre, in order that this general officer 
could come upon the scene himself, thanks to the letter I had 
written him. 

"At this time, Colonel du Paty said to me one evening: 

" The chiefs are trying to have with you a means of com- 
munication which will not be disclosed, because it is probable 
that you are watched. Having been informed of all that is 
preparing, it would be better to have, in case of necessity, 
an indirect transmission. General de Boisdefifre thought of 
the Marquis de Nettancourt, your brother-in-law.' 

"I said: 'No, my brother-in-law is in the country; I do 
not want to ask him to return for such a service.' 

"Then he said: 'We thought also of one of your comrades 
in the regiment;' and he asked me to mention one of them. 
I said: 

"Really, one cannot ask a friend to run like that at all hour<i 
of the day or night." 

"And I thought, unfortunate inspiration it was, of my 
cousin Christian; but as he was at Bordeaux, and I could not 
make him come back, I said: 

"I would propose to you some one devoted of whom I am 
sure, but I really do not dare to make the proposition. And 
I named Mme. Pays. 

"Colonel du Paty told me that he would report, and the 
next morning he told me that they would accept Mme. Pays 
as intermediary. 

"In the course of these interviews Colonel du Paty pre- 
sented to me one evening a lady whom it is useless to name, 
and who also served as intermediary at various times. 



"At this moment I saw Colonel Henry, who said to me: 

" 'All these people do not move. Meline (the Prime Min- 
ister) and Billot (the War Minister) and all the Government 
are taken up by the approaching elections and by the votes 
represented by Scheurer-Kestner, Reinach, etc., etc' 

"He was even very violent; I will not repeat the military 
terms in which he indulged. He ended by saying: 

"If we do not put a bayonet in the back of all those people, 
they will sacrifice the whole French Army to their seat as 
Senator or Deputy!* 

"And, on leaving me, he said: 'Sabre in hand! We are 
going to charge! ' 

"This occurred the day before my first letter to the Presi- 
dent of the Republic, that is to say the 28th of October. 

"Colonel du Paty de Clam dictated the text of the letter to 
the President of the Republic. 

"I called his attention to the fact that the wording of this 
first letter was very extraordinary. (All the details of this 
letter were dictated to me word for word; this dictation took 
place on the Esplanade des Invalides, and I wrote with a 

"M. du Paty replied: 

" 'Everybody knows that you are queer. From you it will 
not appear extraordinary. It is in your style.' 

"I remember very well that I said to him: 

" 'Since it is like me, I don't care. . . . The moment 
that you command I obey.' " 

Here is the letter: 

"Paris, October 20th, 1897. 

"To THE President of the Republic — 

"I have the honour to address you the text of a letter 
anonymously written, which was sent to me the 20th of Oc- 
tober, 1897. 

"Ic is I who am designated in that letter as being the 
chosen victim. I do not wish to wait until my name has 
been given to the public to know what will be the attitude of 
my chiefs. I therefore addressed my chief and natural pro- 
tector, the Minister of War, to know if he would summon me 
the moment my name was pronounced. 



"The Minister has not replied. Now my house is illus- 
trious enough in the annals of history in France and in that 
of the great European Courts, to make the Government of 
my country have a care that my name should not be dragged 
in the mud. 

"I address myself to the supreme chief of the army — to the 
President of the Repubhc. I ask him to stop the scandal, 
as he can and should. 

"I ask him for justice against the infamous instigator of 
this plot, who has given to the authors of this machination 
the secrets of his Bureau to substitute me for a wretch. 

"If I have the misfortune not to be listened to by the chief 
of my country, my precautions are taken to call upon the 
chief of my house, the suzerain of the Esterhazy family, the 
Emperor of Germany. He is a soldier, and will know how 
to place the honour of a soldier, even an enemy, above mean 
and suspicious political intrigues. 

"He will dare to speak loud and strong, to defend the 
honour of six generations of soldiers. 

"It is for you, Mr. President of the Republic, to judge if 
you are to force me to carry the question on this ground. 
An Esterhazy fears nothing and no one, except God. Noth- 
ing and no one will prevent my acting as I say, if I am sacri- 
ficed to I do not know what miserable political combina- 

"I am with the most profound respect, etc., 

"Chief of Infantry Battalion." 

Esterhazy adds: 

"The next morning or days following, as the President of 
the Republic had not replied, they made me write the letter 
about the document liberateur. 

"October 31st, 1897. 
"M. President of the Republic, 

"1 have the regret to state that neither the Chief of State 
nor the Chief of the Army has given me a word of support, 
encouragement or consolation in reply to a superior officer 
who places his threatened honour in their hands. I know 
that considerations of parliamentary politics prevent the Gov- 



ernment from making a frank and clear declaration placing, 
me beyond harm, and stopping forever the defenders of 

"I do not wish that the services rendered to France dur- 
ing one hundred and sixty years by five general officers whose 
name I bear, that the blood shed, that the memory of these 
brave people killed in the face of the enemy, the last yet very 
recently, that all that should be paid with infamy, to serve 
such combinations and save a poor wretch. I am driven to 
use all means in my power. 

"Now. the generous woman who warned me of the horrible 
machination woven against me by the friends of Dreyfus, with 
the aid of Colonel Picquart. has been able to procure since, 
among other documents, the photograph of a paper that she 
succeeded in getting away from this officer. This paper, stolen 
in a foreign legation, by Colonel Picquart, is most compromis- 
ing for certain diplomatic personalities. If I obtain neithc 
support nor justice, and if my name is pronounced, this photo- 
graph, which is to-day in a secure place, will be immediately 

"Excuse me, Mr. President, for having recourse to this 
means, so little in keeping with my character, but remember 
that I defend much more than my life, more than my honour, 
the honour of a family without spot, and in this desperate 
struggle where all supports fail me, where my brain is burst- 
ing, I am obliged to make use of all weapons. 

"I am, with profound respect, etc., 


"Chief of Infantry Battalion." 
Finally, the 5th of November, a third letter : — 

Paris, November 5th, 1899. 

"M. President of the Republic, 

"Excuse me for importuning you a third time, but I fear 
the Minister of War has not communicated to you my last 
letters, and am anxious that you should know the situation. 
It is, besides, the last time that I shall address myself to the 
public powers. The woman who has made me an courant with 
the odious machination plotted against me has given me, 
among others, a paper which is a protection for me, as it 


proves the rascality of Dreyfus, and a danger for my coun- 
try, because its publication with the fac-simile of the writing 
would force France to humiliate itself or to declare war. 

"You who are above all party quarrels where my honour 
serves as ransom, do not leave me under the necessity of 
choosing between two alternatives equally horrible. 

"Force the Ponce-Pilate of politics to make a declaration 
clear and precise, instead of manoeuvering to preserve the 
voices of the friends of Barabbas. All the letters J have writ- 
ten will be placed in the hands of one of my relatives, who has 
had the honour this summer to be received by two emperors 

"What will be thought throughout the world, when the cold 
and cowardly cruelty with which I have been left to struggle 
in my agony, without support, without counsel, is known ! my 
blood will fall on your heads. And when the letter of which 
the Government knows is published, and which is one of the 
proofs of the guilt of Dreyfus, what will the entire world say 
to this miserable Parliamentary tactic, which has prevented 
silence being imposed on the pack of hounds by some energetic 

"I utter the French cry, 'Haro to me, my prince! To my 
rescue!' I address it to you, M. le President, who, before 
being the Chief of State, are an honest man, and who ought to 
be profoundly moved in the depths of your soul by the cow- 
ardice that you see. 

"Let them defend me, and I will send back the paper to the 
Minister of War without any one in the world having laid 
eyes on it; but should they not defend me — for I can wait no 
longer — I will shrink at nothing to defend and avenge my 
honour so shamefully sacrificed. 

"I am, etc., 


The three letters were odious. What can be thought, 
in fact, of an officer trying to exercise over the Chief 
of State a real extortion by this threat of recourse to a 
foreign sovereign, and to divulge secrets of a nature 
to bring about international complications I 

They were odious in still another point of view; for 



they conveyed the idea that the document which Es- 
terhazy claimed to have in his possession had been 
taken from the Minister of War by Mr. Picquart, and 
stolen from his house by a woman. The object was 
to ruin the Colonel, and soon after, they tried to fur- 
ther compromise him by sending to Picquart's address 
in Tunis two false telegrams, one signed "Blanche," 
the other *'Speranza"; but, in fact, they reached Mad- 
ame X, one of his friends, and unjustly aroused sus- 
picions which had grave consequences for her. 

M. Du Paty de Clam knew, however, — if we can 
believe General Roget and Commandant Cuignet — 
what to think about the delivery of the "document 

General Roget said: — 

"For myself, I am persuaded that the paper, called 'docu- 
ment liberateur,' was given to Esterhazy by Du Paty. 

"I am persuaded, also, that it is a paper which he had kept 
from the trial of 1894. 

"I recall, to establish this assertion, the following facts : 

"When the newspapers, at the beginning of the Esterhazy 
affair, began to speak of the paper in question, the following 
conversation took place in the offices of General Gonse, be- 
tween the General, Henry, and Du Paty. 

"General Gonse asked what could be the paper of which 
Esterhazy spoke, and they tried to imagine what it was about, 
when Du Paty said incidentally, "Unless it is the paper. "That 
scoundrel of a D. . .' " Now, neither General Gonse, nor 
Henry, nor any one would have thought naturally of this 

"Henry even said immediately: 'What could he do with that 
paper? And in what way would it establish his innocence.' 

"It was the astonishment expressed by Henry in this in- 
stance which made me remember it when I reminded him of it 
in making my examination; and I obtained confirmation of it 
from General Gonse." 



Commander Cuignet: "The veiled woman is not other than 
Du Paty." 

"M. du Paty knew what to beheve also in regard to the 
letters themselves, sent to the President of the Republic." 

Listen to the official report of the confrontation 
which took place between him and Esterhazy the 24th 
of August, 1898, before the Examining Council pre- 
sided over by General Florentin. 

"The witness (Du Paty de Clam). Esterhazy wished to 
write to the Emperor of Germany ; I told him that he had 
better write to the President of the Republic, who was the 
father of all the French people. This letter, I know it as I took 
a copy of it later at the Ministry of War. Esterhazy told me 
that it had been dictated to him, 

"M. Esterhazy. — I want the Lieutenant-Colonel to tell who 
dictated it to me. 

"The Witness. — Ah! I do not know! Would you say that 
it was I? 

"M. Esterhazy.— Tell the truth. 

"The Witness. — It was not I. 

"M. Esterhazy. — Then, how did matters transpire? 

"The Witness. — He wanted to look for foreign aid, from his 
relatives, and to ask the German Emperor through them if he 
had ever had relations with him, and to beg him to defend his 
honour as a member of an order of which this sovereign was 
grand master. 

"M. Esterhazy. — That is it ! I called upon the German 
Emperor as a vassal. Having decided to commit suicide, I 
wished first to call on all those who had any interest in de- 
fending an Esterhazy. 

"The Witness. — Yes, it was then that I turned him away 
from this idea, and made him write to the President of the 

"The President. — But these letters contained a sentiment of 
a threat? 

"The Witness. — In my opinion. Esterhazy was then in a 
rather queer mental condition. I saw the letter at the Min- 
istry, and told him that this letter, which he declared had been 



dictated to him, was crazy. Certainly it was not I who dictated 
it to him. 

"The President. — But then who did dictate it to him? And 
furthermore, if it was dictated to him, what could have been 
his state of mind when drawing up this letter? 

"The Witness. — It was not I. Esterhazy was admirably in- 
formed; but everything that he was told was of a nature to 
discourage him. They wished, he said, to ruin above all Du 
Paty and General de Boisdeffre. As to making known to the 
Council if my relations with Esterhazy were ordered or were 
only a personal affair, I refuse to reply before Esterhazy. 

"The President. — In any case, what did you do personally, 
and in what measure were you a party to the matter? 

"The Witness. — As far as relates to the articles for the 
newspapers, he was assisted in his reply to the article 'Vidi.' 
I even corrected the reply. 

"The President. — He did not act alone then, but with the 
help of officers in the active army ? 

"The Witness. — Yes. 

"The President. — We need to know in what measure he 
was guided, and therefore, responsible. 

"The Witness. — Esterhazy never knew that he was defended 
by the General Stafif, but only by individuals ; I was one of 
those most interested in the manifestation of truth, and that 
is why I helped him. I did not see the letter to the President 
of the Republic until I saw it at the ^Ministry, after it had been 
received there. 

"The President. — You approved of sending this letter? 

"The Witness. — Yes ; and I gave him the framework or sub- 
stance. But, after having read the letter, I found fault with 
the composition. 

"M. Esterhazy. — But, then, tell the truth! Say how these 
letters were dictated ! 

"The Witness. — I say that I do not know. 

"The President. — Was it you who inspired what the threat 

"The Witness. — He spoke to me of writing it. 

"The President. — You do not know who dictated it ! 

"The Witness.— No. 



"The President to Esterhazy. — Where were they written? 

"Esterhazy. — One back of the Caulaincourt bridge; another 
at the Invalides bridge; I do not know where the third was 
written. I wrote them with a pencil at the dictation of some 
one; I recopied them quietly at home. 

"The President to Esterhazy — Do you know if Du Paty 
knew this some one? 

"Esterhazy. — Yes; the colonel knew him. 

"The Witness. — I knew him; I do not say that I did not; 
not being a sneak. Besides, I only knew from Esterhazy that 
they had been dictated to him. 

"Esterhazy. — I beg the colonel to say that he knew the 
author of the letter — that he knew his as well as I did; that 
it is absolutely exact that these letters were dictated by some 
one he knew, as well as the article 'Dixi' (in the Libre Parole). 

"The President to the Witness. — I ask you the question. 

"The Witness. — I have said all that I had to say. 

"The President. — Then, if you only knew it from Esterhazy, 
it is not your testimony. You only repeat the assertions of 
Esterhazy ? 

"The Witness. — It is impossible that the article 'Dixi' should 
have been done by Esterhazy; therefore, it was given him. 

"The President. — That is not testimony, but an opinion. We 
do not need it. 

"The Witness. — I have nothing to say. 

"The President. — To resume or sum up, you aided Com- 
mandant Esterhazy. Was it on your initiative? 

"The Witness. — I do not wish to say before Esterhazy. 

"The President. — Does Esterhazy lie in saying that the letter 
was dictated to him ? 

"The Witness. — He does not lie . . . or rather . . . 
I withdraw what I said. 

"Esterhazy. — I assert that the article was brought to me all 
written, and that the letters were dictated to me. 

"The Witness — I am sure that he tells the truth as far as 
the article is concerned. As for the letters, I do not know. 
. . . I do not dare to confirm the statement of the Com- 
mandant Esterhazy. Was it on your initiative? 

Du Paty de Clam had then taken an undeniable part 



in the drawing up of the three letters, which, instead 
of bringing upon their signer an immediate punish- 
ment, had a contrary result — to make him obtain the 
satisfaction he desired. 

This satisfaction was granted him by the publica- 
tion of an official note, through the Agence Havas 
(News Agency) on November 9th (the last letter was 
dated the 5th). The President of the Council and the 
Minister of War informed the Council of the intention 
of MM. Castelin and Mirman, deputies, to put them a 
question relative to the polemics of the Press engaged 
in the Dreyfus affair. M. Meline and General Billot 
indicated to the Council the reply that they made; 
''Captain Dreyfus has been regularly and justly con- 
demned by the Council of War. The condemnation is 
in force with its full effect; it can only be modified or 
weakened by a degree for revision, etc." 

Esterhazy, finding himself covered by this confirma- 
tion of the guilt of Dreyfus, returned on the 14th. the 
paper which he had threatened to use; and the Chief of 
the Cabinet of the Minister of War, merelv acknowl- 
edged the receipt of it on the i6th. 

But on the i6th M. Mathieu Dreyfus, brother of the 
condemned, publicly denounced him as the author of 
the bordereau. 

The same day Esterhazy wrote to General Billot: 

"M. Minister, I read in the journals this morning the in- 
famous accusation brought against me. I ask you to cause an 
investigation, and I hold myself in readiness to reply to all 

An investigation was, in fact, ordered, and confided 
to General de Pellieux. 

What is, from this moment, the attitude of Henry 
and Paty de Clam? 



Esterhazy's deposition: 

"In the last days of October I received from Colonel Du 
Paty de Clam a grille intended for correspondence either 
with him or Colonel Henry in case of need; it is that seized 
by M. Bertulus. 

"November i6th, I read in the morning the denunciation of 
M. Mathieu Dreyfus. 

"I go at once to the Governor of Paris and inform him 
that I shall at once demand an investigation of the Minister. 

"There I am notified that General de Pellieux will be 
charged with the investigation; this inquest is opened; my 
cousin arrived suddenly, and I was foolish enough to use 
him as intermediary; but the real intermediary during all this 
time has been Mde. Pays. After the beginning of the inquest, 
I was informed every evening of what had been done through 
the day; I would call attention to the fact that results of an 
inquest cannot be communicated to ofificers of a grade so low 
as Colonel Henry and Colonel Du Paty occupied; they can 
only be communicated to general officers; General de Pellieux 
could not inform his officers of an inferior grade of his in- 
vestigations. Therefore, the results of this inquest were 
transmitted to me regularly only under the form of prescrip- 
tion, of what I must say when questioned. I received every 
day written prescriptions, and I transmitted myself observa- 
tions and remarks intended as replies to the communications 
made to me. 

"I had received the order to burn these notes as they were 
received; so I burnt a great many. 

"Most fortunately and without saying anything to me 
about it, Mme. Pays put several of them aside. 

"Here is one which was among the papers remitted to the 
'concierge'; it is a note which Colonel du Paty has admitted 
to come from him. 

"At that time I had written that it was necessary that all 
officers, at least the principal ones who had been mixed up 
in the Dreyfus affair, should come to testify before the Gen- 
eral. Colonel du Paty had received a summons, and, before 
appearing, he wrote me the note in question. 



"This note proves that all evidence given before General de 
Pellieux, was made in accordance with my wishes: — 

" 'In case General de Pellieux should ask me if I have had 
any relations with you, I have the intention to tell him this, 
which is perceptibly true: As soon as we were informed 
anonymously of the plot against Commander Esterhazy, I 
realized the importance of warning him so as to prevent some 
desperate act. So I put myself in communication with him 
by means which I wish to keep secret, so as not to compro- 
mise third parties, to whom I am tied by my word of honour. 
I may say, however, that the veiled lady is totally ignorant of 
these relations. My relations with Commander Esterhazy 
have had for effect to prevent him from taking extreme 
measures, for he had been warned on his side. As soon as 
I knew that he had in his possession a secret document, all 
my efforts tended towards making him give it up, in appeal- 
ing to his patriotic sentiments; and I must say that I suc- 
ceeded in this without any difficulty. So my intervention has 
served to moderate an exasperation. I have abstained from 
getting him to communicate anything of a secret character. 
The information of that sort which he may have had he re- 
ceived from another source. I know nothing about the cam- 
paign against Picquart. 

" 'Besides, General Boisdefifre knows that I have been in 
indirect communication with Commander Esterhazy. From 
the moment that Commander Esterhazy has had supporters 
and a counsel and has written to newspapers, my relations 
become useless. As he has taken an engagement with me, I 
will release him from his word of honour, if you wish it. For 
without that he will think himself obliged to deny the re- 
lations, but his word, like mine, will stand. 

" 'Consequently: 

" 'i°. — As long as you have no official letter from me, you 
are not supposed to know me. 2°. — Keep silent with regard 
to the relations we have had together. 3°. — Maintain that 
these relations had no other object except to encourage you, 
to advise moderation and to appeal to your good sentiments 
to give up the document, and that they had nothing whatever 
to do with the affair of the veiled woman. 4°. — Never have 



I divulged anything confidential to you; and it is not I who 
have denounced Picquart to you. 

'* 'This is the ground upon which I will place myself; bear 
well in mind all I mark in red, and destroy. You understand 
how important it is to agree perfectly, for you as well as 
myself. All is well; the person who has fetched the famous 
letters from Picquart, written in an agreed style, is precisely 
the author of the telegram signed Blanche, which is in his 
handwriting a little disguised.' " 

M. Du Paty de Clam admitted before General Re- 
nouard, the 9th of September, 1898, that he wrote this 


"Q. — . . . Esterhazy has received directions for the exam- 
ination which he was to undergo before General de Pel- 
lieux. . . . 

"A.— Quite so; I told Esterhazy not to speak of our rela- 
tions. I told him that I could not see him, and that if he 
were interrogated in reference to our interviews, he was to 
say he was bound by promises; and if they insisted, he was 
to ask to be first of all released from his word of honour. 

"Q. — This letter was in two handwritings? 

"A. — Yes; I had commenced to write in capitals, and after- 
wards I went back to my usual handwriting. This note is 
from me." 

He has recognized it also before the Criminal Cham- 
ber, the I2th of January, 1899. 

These are the conditions under which the prelimi- 
nary enquiry was made by General de Pellieux, who, 
among other witnesses, heard Lieutenant Colonel Pic- 
quart, called back from Tunis. 

An order was given on the 4th of December to make 
an enquiry, and this enquiry Commander Ravary, re- 
porter to the first Court-Martial, made on the 7th. 

We will let Esterhazy speak. 

"... The inquiry has commenced more complete, and 
was longer and more deailed than the inquiry made by Gen- 



eral de Pellieux, but it was made in the same manner — that 
is to say, I received every day formal instructions about what 
I was to say. Once, to obey my counsel, M. Tezenas (who 
at that time did not know what was going on) — I had taken 
a step of my own accord — I was told to mind my own busi- 
ness. Commander Ravary was called before the General 
Staff, where certain documents were communicated to him. 
Every day also I was informed of the proceedings of the in- 
quiry, and told what I was to say always by the same persons, 
either Colonel Henry or Commander Du Paty; but it is quite 
evident that these communications concerning the details of 
the inquiry, were not made to these officers who were consid- 
ered absolutely as witnesses. They were made to the chief 
of the General Staff, or, which is more probable, to the head- 
clerk of the General Staff, to be remitted to the chief of the 
General Staff. It is interesting to me to state that these com- 
munications which were made in much higher quarters than 
to the officers reaches me the same evening." 

We must here insist upon the measures which, in 
the offices of the General Staff, at least between Henry 
and Du Paty de Clam, had been contrived to save Es- 

Perquisitions had been made neither at his house 
nor at the house of Mdlle. Pays, his mistress. 

It is true that, warned since several weeks, he had 
time to take precautions; and he himself, in his letter 
to the Minister of War dated October 25th, 1897, dic- 
tated by Du Paty de Clam, had anticipated the suspi- 
cions which his relations with a foreign military at- 
tache and the resemblance of his handwriting and that 
of the bordereau might have aroused. 

In this letter he had said on one hand: — 
"My embarrassed situation is known since a long time 
among the Jewish society, my family relations in the diplo- 
matic world, my few but very open relations with Colonel de 

Schw who has known my parents at Carlsbad, all this 

was calculated to make me a victim of this frightful plot." 



He had said on the other hand: — 

"In one of the documents published in this connection, I 
read that the bordereau had been written on tracing paper. 
This naturally led me to think that some one had procured 
some of my handwriting, and that Dreyfus had used it to 
manufacture his occult correspondence, and to turn suspicions 
towards me in case of surprise. I did not know Dreyfus; 
but, unforunately for me, hy handwriting had been around 
at bankers, money-lenders, jewelers, and other people with 
whom Dreyfus might be acquainted. Nevertheless, this ex- 
planation did not satisfy me. At the time of the duels. Mores, 
Cremier Mayer, etc., I received numerous letters from Israel- 
ite officers, to whom I replied by a word of thanks. Still, 
this explanation did not satisfy me any better, for it was 
necessary to have a great deal of my writing to have the 
words of the bordereau. I remembered then that in the be- 
ginning of 1894, a time I can very well remember for per- 
sonal reasons, I received from an officer of the Ministry a 
request for circumstantial information on the part taken dur- 
ing the campaign of Crimea by the cavalry brigade that my 
father commanded. This officer had a work to prepare on the 
operations around Eupatoria. I made quite voluminous notes 
and sent them to him, although, at his request I did not ad- 
dress them to the Ministry. It is possible that they fell un- 
der the eyes or into the hands of Dreyfus, either by being 
lent to him, or otherwise. It would be easy to find out 
through this officer, Capt. Bro." 

This method of defence had been suggested to Es- 
terhazy by Du Paty de Clam, who recalled having, as 
legal police ofhcer, on October i8th, shown the photo- 
graph of some words of the bordereau to Dreyfus, who 
had replied: '*It seems to me vaguely that this is the 
writing of Bro." 

In consequence, Esterhazy had sent to Toulouse, 
where Captain Bro was not found, a letter and a tele- 
gram, on the pretence of asking that officer if he had 
not sent him early in 1894, to the house of a friend liv- 



ing in the Rue de Lafayette or Rue Chateaudun — M. 
Hadamard lives in the Rue Chateaudun — some infor- 
mation on the Crimean war. Captain Bro, whom the 
letter and telegram finally reached, was absolutely 

stupefied, and replied to Esterhazy: "None of my 
friends or acquaintances lives in the Rue de Chateau- 
dun; not having the honour of knowing you, even by 
name, I never asked anything of you, either verbally 
or in writing." 

Dreyfus, therefore, had never been lent by Captain 
Bro the pretended notice, to trace the writing of Es- 

But, in the information against Dreyfus, this hy- 
pothesis of tracery remained; and that is what, in part 
at least, led the experts Belhomme, Couard and Vari- 
nard, commissioned November 14th by Commandant 
Ravary, to conclude that the bordereau contained "an 
awkward imitation of Esterhazy's handwriting," but 
"was not his work." 

Nevertheless, in the course of the expertise, and not- 
withstanding the protection by which he was sur- 
rounded, Esterhazy was extremely disturbed, as is 
proved by the draft of a letter found in a Japanese vase 
at the house of Mdlle. Pays by the Judge of Instruc- 
tion Bertulus. 

"What must I do later, if the experts refuse to conclude as 
you had hoped? Must I ask, as Tezanas wished at first, as is 
my right, that" the experts should show the writing to be 
trace-work? Why have not Charavay or Varinard, whom you 
know decided for me in the Boulancy letter, manifestly a 
trick? Belhomme is an idiot; you have only to look at him. 
All these people are going to assassinate me. Can it not be 
proved, however, to Ravary and the experts that I did not 
write the terms of the great letter — the Uhlan letter — to Bou- 



lancy? If the experts conclude that the writing is mine, it is 
impossible for me, in my defence, not to be forced to show 
that Dreyfus is the author of the bordereau. You understand, 
then, that if you are really masters of the examination and of 
the experts, I can only report absolutely to you, but that, if 
that escapes you, as I fear, I am absolutely bound to prove 
that the bordereau is traced by Dreyfus from my handwriting." 

December 31st Commandant Ravary prepared a re- 
port, and, alluding to the schemes practiced not by 
those who, like Henry and Du Paty de Clam, wished 
at any price to save Esterhazy, but by those who, with 
the Dreyfus family, tried to obtain the revision of the 
trial of 1894, he finished by these words: 

"To sum up, what remains of this sad affair, so wisely 
planned? A painful impression will have a sad echo in all 
truly French hearts. Of the actors in the scene, some came 
to the front, and others remained in the corridors, but all the 
means used had the same object, the revision of a judgment 
legally and justly rendered." 

The Council of War, before which Mme. Dreyfus 
wished to intervene, rejected the argument presented 
by her counsel, saying: 

In that which concerns Madame Dreyfus: 

Whereas the Council of War is not engaged in the 
afifair of ex-Captain Dreyfus, upon which it has justly 
and legally decided. 

That the Council of War cannot admit Madame 
Dreyfus as party for the plaintiff at the debates with- 
out breaking its rules ; 

That in case of closed doors the Council cannot au- 
thorize Madame Dreyfus, any more than her counsel, 
to take part in the debates. 

From the moment when it declared the guilt of 
Dreyfus to be "justly and legally decided," the Council 
of War could only acquit Esterhazy. 



This was done January nth, 1898. 

On the 1 2th Esterhazy wrote to a General that he 
did not wish to name, a letter, of which the draft was 
seized by M. Bertulus: 

"My General, I write you to express very badly — for I do 
not find words to express to you what I feel — all the profound, 
all the infinite gratitude that I have in my heart for you. If I 
have not succumbed in this monstrous campaign, it is to you, 
and you alone, that I owe it." 



From the Report of M. Ballotin Beaupre. 

The Henry forgery was not the last of which Drey- 
fus had to complain. 

Two others have yet to be mentioned. 

M. Cavaignac, the 7th of July, 1898, had — besides 
the Henry forgery — indicated with the paper, "This 

scoundrel of D ," as proof of guilt, a letter 

(of the secret dossier), on the subject of which Com- 
mandant Cuignet explained himself before the Crim- 
inal Chamber of the Court of Cassation. 

This paper is an authentic letter, written with black pencil on 
paper "quadrille," by Agent B. . .to Agent A. . . Its 
text is as follows : 

"My very dear friend, I finished by calling the doctor, who 
forbade me to go out. So not being able to go to you to-mor- 
row, I beg you to come to me in the morning, as D has 

brought me many interesting things, and we must share the 
work, having only ten day's time. Try then to tell (sic.) to 
. . . that you cannot go up. 

"Sincerely yours, (Signature)." 

What constitutes the suspicious character of this letter, 
which bears the date of March, 1894 (date of the Information 
Department), is that the initial D appears to cover another 
initial or capital letter which has been erased with rubber. 

Further, the space which separates this initial from the first 
letter of the following word appears to me to be an absolutely 
unusual distance, when one limits himself to putting only an 

It seems to me that this space had been filled by letters fol- 
lowing the capital letter which seemed to have been erased. 

Also the three dots which follow the letter D. .. seem large 
and bent, much larger in any case than the punctuation points 
in the authentic text. 



Finally, by examining the paper with a magnifying glass, it 
appears that the near quadrillage of the letter which seemed lo 
have been rubbed out, had also been touched by the eraser, 
which confirms my opinion that a rubber had been used to 
erase a letter or a word. 

It also seems to me, in continuing my examination with the 
glass, that the points following the initial "D" cover letters of 
which I perceive some traces without being able to reconstruct 
the letters. 

For these different reasons, the paper, of which the whole of 
the text is authentic, appears eminently suspicious. 

M. Bertillon examined this document. He recog- 
nized there, like Commandant Cuignet, "an erasure or 
rubbing out, followed by retouches." He believes, 
however, that under the capital '*D" was alreadv an- 
other "D." 

By whom then were these alterations made? It is 
evident that some one wished to fraudulently create a 
new charge against Dreyfus. 

That is also what some one wished to do with the 
paper (forty-four of the secret dossier), which gave rise 
to three depositions by the Secretary of the Embassy 
— M. Paleologue. On November 2d, 1894, at four 
minutes past three in the afternoon, when the arrest of 
Dreyfus had, since the morning of the day before, been 
announced by the Press, a cipher despatch, placed in 
the telegraph-ofifice of the Rue Montaigne, was ad- 
dressed to the Government by a military attache. The 
tracing was taken at the Administration of Telegraphs 
on thin bank post paper, giving the complete repro- 
duction of the original, which was sent back to the 
telegraph oiBce of the Rue Montaigne, to be the fol- 
lowing year, delivered to the Ministry of Postes and 
telegraphs and destroyed, in conformity to the rules. 
No doubt of its authenticity is possible. No doubt 



either of its translation. This is what results from the 
report by Messrs. Chamoin and Commandant Cuig- 
net, delegates of the Ministry of War, and M. Paleo- 
logue, Secretary of Embassy, delegate of the Ministry 
of Foreign Affairs. The translation, made together 
by the three delegates mentioned, brought out the fol- 
lowing version: *Tf Captain Dreyfus has not had 
relations with you, it would be well to charge the Am- 
bassador to publish an official denial, in order to avoid 
the comments of the press." 

But, in the beginning, the key of the cipher was not 
known ; they hesitated on the last words ; and the Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs had given to the Information 
Department, under all reserves, a first version, which 
finished thus, "official denial, our emissary warned." A 
few days after, the Chief of the Office, Colonel Sand- 
herr, received the exact version ''Official denial, in 
order to avoid the comments of the press." 

This definite wording M. Paleologue declared to 
have ''seen in the hands of Colonel Sandherr and to 
have spoken to him of it at different times." 

But, at the Ministry of War, they have no longer, 
either the second version or even the first; both have 

And M. Paleologue said before the Criminal Cham- 
ber, January 9th : 

"The last days of April or the first days of May, 1898, 
Colonel Henry came to see me at the Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs and asked me, with a slightly embarrassed air, if I 
could procure for him a copy of a telegram of November 2, 
1891. I did not understand his question very well at first 
and I replied: 'But you have it — that document! I saw it in 
the hands of Sandherr; what has become of it?' Henry 
answered: 'I do not know; we do not find it. The papers of 



the dossier have been scattered about in several safes. In 
short we haven't it any longer.' 

"I replied to him that it did not belong to me to give him a 
document of that nature, and that he had only to request it at 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Minister of War. 
He asked me then if I could not at least let him have a copy 
non-ofHcially. My reply was that the writing of an agent of 
foreign afifairs would give this piece an air of authenticity that 
I was not qualified to give. 'Anyhow,' I added. 'I have 
recited this telegram to you so many times that I can recite 
it once more. You are free to write it from my dictation.' 

"He took a pencil and a sheet of paper, and wrote from 
my dictation the words that I indicated. The interview fin- 
ished there." 

What became of the writing dictated to Henry by M. Paleo- 
logue is not known. 

What is certain is that General Gonse, not being 
able to obtain from the Ministry of Posts and Tele- 
graphs even the original, which, in conformity with 
the rules, had been destroyed in 1895, and not wishing 
to have only a certified copy of the tracing taken on 
the thin bank post-paper, called on M. du Paty de 
Clam in May, 1895, to reconstruct the wording of the 
telegram ; and it is the paper No. 44 of the secret dos- 
sier: "Captain Dreyfus is arrested; the Minister of 
War has the proof of his relations with Germany; all 
my precautions are taken." 

M. Peleologue testified on March 29th. before the 
assembled Chambers, that his conscience and his in- 
structions obliged him to say that no error of memory 
could justify the differences which existed between 
the wording in question and the wording preserved at 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The piece No. 44 is 
not only erroneous, it is false.'' 

This was another fraud, due to the collaboration of 



Henry and Du Paty de Clam, and intended to be a 
weapon against Dreyfus, of a cipher despatch which 
on the contrary was favourable to him, as it proved 
that the signer did not know him. 

What motives then determined these two men to 
thus persecute the condemned of 1894? 

For Henry, a sentiment of personal interest already 
shown, and perhaps an unavowed complicity which 
bound his cause to that of Esterhazy. 

He said in his defence: 

"In reality, there is only one motive in my intervention in 
Esterhazy's behalf. It consists in the considerations that 
General Gonse pointed out to me when he revealed the Ester- 
hazy affair to me; considerations of exterior order, that I ex- 
posed to the Court without making them in writing, con- 
siderations of an anterior order, which exist, in spite of what 
General Roget says, in pretending that I hide myself behind 
them, considerations the nature of which is known, and of 
which no denial can prevent the existence. In closing, I will 
say how much I am saddened to have been abandoned by my 
chiefs. Never would I have believed that General Gonse 
would disown me after having pushed me ahead. Never 
would I have believed that a former Minister, after telling me 
'You have rendered a great service to the country,' would 
leave my call without response. Never would I have be- 
lieved that a general to whom I devoted myself without re- 
serve would have abandoned me after having said to me, 'Dur- 
ing my lifetime you will never be sacrificed.' While only 
my military personality and my career was touched, I re- 
mained in the greatest vis-a-vis my chiefs. To-day they at- 
tack my honour by an officer who dares to attack his su- 
periors in the most inconceivable manner, and accuse me for 
long months of things about which I have never been ques- 
tioned. One can believe that my indignation is great. But, 
nevertheless, in the interest of my country, I only defend my- 
self in the measure strictly necessary to explain my 



The acts are, and the revolution destroys all faith 
due to the known judgment in 1894. 

If Dreyfus was condemned, it was because Henry, 
as delegate of the Minister, brought to the Council of 
War an impassioned deposition from the Information 
Department. It is because Du Paty de Clam, after 
having inquiry produced in the confusion, brought to 
bear upon the debates an ardour of which Dreyfus 

Their testimony is vitiated by the long series of in- 
defensible manoeuvres they practised to assure the ac- 
quittal of Esterhazy. 


(From the Report of M. Ballot Beaupre.) 
It is painful to be obliged to emphasize the criminal 
perversion of one who wore the uniform of our army, 
and who without doubt, under other conditions, would 
have worn it with honour. It is painful that even his 
death has not been able to protect his memory by the 
charity of silence. But the demands of truth and jus- 
tice do not allow of this. The crime committed by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry has had a bearing upon the 
entire Ester hazy case; and how could it have been 
otherwise? If it had ended in the demonstration of 
Esterhazy's guilt, there was at the Ministry of War a 
document the falsity of which would have been at 
once apparent to the Minister and the Generals. In 
this document Dreyfus was plainly designated. And, 
in connection with his case, if Esterhazy had been 
found guilty, Henry, as Chief of the Service, would 
have been compromised and doubtless dishonoured. 

But, as far as Dreyfus is concerned, do not the false 
documents constitute a new fact, which, in breaking 
up the accusation, establishes his innocence? Was 
Henry a witness of no importance in the Dreyfus af- 
fair? And if his deposition was one of the most seri- 
ous, was it at the same time sincere and veracious? We 
would fain believe so, but can we? 

This is the same man who, knowing himself to be 
bearing false witness, accuses others and gives the lie 
direct to Lieutenant- Colonel Picquart. He is the man 
who, while the Minister exhorts him to tell the truth, 
swears eight consecutive times that he did not commit 



Well, and what role does he play before the Court- 
Martial which condemns Dreyfus? Major Henry was 
delegated to bring forward, on behalf of the Minister, 
confidential information, which could, should it so 
happen, supplement the data of the examination. If 
any deposition was of supreme importance, assuredly 
it was this. There is more, and this is decisive: 

"It is certain, says the Keeper of the Seals, that the bor- 
dereau found in 1894 by du Paty de Clam in the hands of 
General Gonse, sub-chief of the General StafT, had been 
brought to this general officer by Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, 
at the time chief of battalion and sub-chief of the Bureau of 

And again, at the time of his arrest, on Aug. 30th, 
1896, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry declared to General 
Roget, chief of stafif of the Minister of War, that it 
was to him that an agent, unnamed, had brought the 
bordereau, it having come, he added, by the "usual 
channel (la voie ordinaire).'' 

And so the origin of the bordereau has for its only 
guarantee the word of Henry, the fabricator of false 
documents: and when one hears the experts give the 
opinion that this particular document was forged, one 
cannot help having many anxious doubts. As long as 
all was unknown, one had confidence in the justice of 
the verdict. But as revelations have come to light, a 
cloud of objections have arisen, and a deep uneasiness 
has weighed upon many a conscience. Lieutenant 
Colonel Picquart had, on behalf of the Minister of 
War, taken part in the session of the Dreyfus trial. 
As chief of the information service, he conducted 
the subsequent inquiries, and he was able on all 
these points to inform himself exhaustively. Finally 
he made, with the consent of the government, an 



expose of the circumstances which seemed to bring in 
question the stability of the verdict of 1894. This in- 
formation was addressed in confidence to the Minister 
of Justice, and it is fitting that the communication in 
question be brought to your knowledge. 
Letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart to the Min- 
ister OF Justice^ Keeper of the Seals. 

Paris, September 14th, 1898. 

I have the honour to indicate to you the reasons upon 
which I base my deep and firm conviction of the innocence 
of Dreyfus: 

First, I give a summary of these reasons; I shall pass later 
to the detailed development of each of them in turn. 

L — Dreyfus was arrested solely upon the suspicion of hav- 
ing written the bordereau. When the bordereau came into the 
hands of the bureau of information, it was supposed a priori 
and unjustly, that, in view of the documents enumerated 
therein, it could have been written only by an officer of the 
ministry, preferably by an artillery officer, and the handwrit- 
mgs of the officers of the general staff were compared with 
that of the bordereau. 

After some hesitation, it was found that the writing of 
Dreyfus bore a likeness to that of the bordereau. 

Dreyfus had never been suspected before; no previous 
supervision had admitted the suspicion of temptations, of 
questionable relations, of the need of funds; it had merely 
been remarked that he evinced a tendency to inquire indis- 
creetly into what was going on about him. But this tendency 
is not inexplicable in the case of an officer on probation who 
is attached to the General Staff of the Army for purposes of 
self instruction, and who finds in his position a unique oppor- 
tunity for familiarizing himself with out military organi- 

The writing of the bordereau bears merely a resemblance to 
that of Dreyfus. On the other hand, it is identical with that 
of Esterhazy. The documents specified in the bordereau are, 
as a rule, of no small value. Dreyfus, had he been inclined 



to treason, could have supplied himself much more. More- 
over, the documents in question bear no relation to the par- 
ticular ones which Dreyfus had in hand at the time the bor- 
dereau was written, 

B. Admitting Dreyfus to be its author, certain phrases in 
the bordereau are inexplicable, for example, the following, 
"Provided you do not wish that I should have it copied in 
extenso." Dreyfus had no secretary at his disposition; Ester- 
hazy, as Major, had one. Here is a point which can readily 
be understood, admitting the bordereau to be the work of 

II. — When Dreyfus was arrested, in an attempt to lend his 
dossier more weight, a secret dossier was made up, and this 
was communicated to the judges of the court martial. Not 
one of these documents is applicable to Dreyfus. 

III. — It has not been possible to arrive at the motives by 
which Dreyfus was actuated; he had never manifested un- 
patriotic feelings; he possessed a fortune, he had a home, he 
led a regular life. 

IV. — Dreyfus has always protested his innocence, and more- 
over the alleged confession made by Captain Lebrun-Renault 
was nothing more than the result of an interested move on 
the part of his enemies. 

V. — An attempt has been made to prove that Dreyfus was 
continually in a position to lay hands upon the documents 
mentioned in the bordereau. These documents were never 
thoroughly investigated when I was attached to the Ministry. 
They came altogether or nearly so, from Du Paty de Clam, 
and were generally passed without any supervision. More- 
over, they had no value. 

VI. — The chiefs. Generals Billot, de Boisdefifre, and Gonse, 
have never raised an objection to any of the facts to which I 
drew their attention, with the exception of the false document 
brought to the Ministry of Colonies at the beginning of Sep- 
tember, 1896, and the false document assigned to Henry 
which made its appearance at the end of October or the be- 
ginning of November of the same year. 

VII. — Henry and du Paty de Clam have employed the most 
culpable measures to emphasize the guilt of Dreyfus and the 
innocence of Esterhazy. 



I now~take up in detail each of the paragraphs numbered 

And Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart then proceeds to 
develop each of the paragraphs which we have just 
indicated. We are obliged to confine ourselves to the 
reading of the most interesting portions : 

When it became clear that there were no other charges 
against Dreyfus but that of the bordereau, documents which 
might be applicable to him were sought for among those of 
the service of information, and of these was formed a dossier, 
which I propose to consider in detail. 

This dossier, which had been locked up in the file belonging 
to Henry towards the close of December, 1894, and which I 
received from the hands of Gribelin towards the close of 
December, 1896, was divided into two parts. The first, which 
had been communicated to the judges in the council chamber, 
was composed of four documents, accompanied by an ex- 
planatory commentary, made up, as Colonel Sandherr assured 
me, by du Paty de Clam. The second part of the dossier was 
of small value. It comprised seven or eight documents in all 
— to specify, several photographs, the secret documents, and 
several documents of no importance, having more or less 
reference to those of the first part. 

I propose to take up in succession the documents of the 
first part, indicating so far as memory will admit, the terms 
of the commentary. For the rest, I maintain that my memory 
of these facts is very vivid, by reason of the profound impres- 
sion made upon me by the sight of this dossier. 

First document (torn in pieces, and when put together) : a 
letter with a note written by a person whom we will designate 
by the initial "A," probably to his superiors. It was "A's" 
custom to sketch such plans, which he threw in to the paper 
basket. This letter, written in a foreign language, was of the 
close of the year 1893 or 1894. I believe it authentic. It was 
worded, or approximately worded as follows: 

"Doubts what to do? Let him show his officer's certifi- 
cate. What has he to fear? What can he supply? There is 
no interest in maintaining relations with an infantry officer." 

The simple common-sense shows that the author of this 



sketch had received propositions from an individual calHng 
himself an officer; that he had some doubts as to the oppor- 
tunity he was given of entering into relations with the latter, 
and that it concerned someone who was in the infantry. 

The text, in a foreign language was faithfully translated in 
the commentary of du Paty de Clam, but he drew theref'-oni 
a most unexpected inference: 

"A finds," says du Paty, "that there is no advantage in 
maintaining relations with infantry officers. He selects rather 
a Staff Officer, and takes one attached to the ministry." This 
commentary enables one to note the treacherous spirit by 
which du Paty de Clam was actuated. 

Second document: This was an authentic letter from (a 
person whom we designate by B) B to A, dating from the 
early part of 1894; it had been torn and then put together, and 
was worded approximately as follows: "I desire to have some 
information upon a question of recruiting." This last refer- 
ence, continues Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart, is to a matter 
which was not absolutely confidential. "I shall ask Da- 
vignon" (then sub-chief of the second division), "but he will 
tell me nothing. Therefore ask your friend, Davignon must 
not know of it, because he should not learn that we are work- 
ing together." 

That you may understand this matter, it should be said that 
the foreign military attaches went about once a week to the 
second division, where, at this time, they were informed very 
freely about everything which was not confidential. The 
officers of the second division even complained of working 
more for the foreign attaches than for the General Staff. 

The commentator says: "At the time when B wrote to A, 
Dreyfus was in the second division. Evidently it is he whom 
B designates as the friend of A." This comment is absurd. In 
the first place nothing has ever admitted the proof that A had 
relations with Dreyfus. Even if we admit that the bordereau 
is the work of the latter, nothing in any event indicates that 
this friend was Dreyfus, nor who it was that furnished secret 
documents to A. B dwells too lightly on that point, above 
all when he says "Davignon must not know of it" — that is 
equivalent to saying that the friend might be the chief of 
division, might be du Paty himself, who had an understand- 



ing with A, might be the chief of the foreign section at that 
particular time. All these officers were on excellent terms 
with A, and would not have hesitated to give so futile a piece 
of information as the one in question. 

The third document was an authentic letter from B to A, 
dated 1894. It had been torn and then put together. B said 

approximately: "I have seen this blackguard D . He gave 

me for you some dozen plans." 

The commentator says: "It was proved whether the plans 
were in their place. They were. It was not proved whether 
the plans of the First Division were also. It is allowable to 
believe that Dreyfus had taken those of the First Division and 
had loaned them for the time being to B, to be forwarded to 
A. As a matter of fact, Dreyfus was attached to the First 
Division in 1893. He worked in the room where these plans 
were kept, and since that time the combination of the locks 
had not been changed." 

This accusation is monstrous in the eyes of any one know- 
ing the routine of the offices of the General Stafif. In the first 
place twelve plans make up a considerable package, and in 
the vaults of the First Division their disappearance must have 
been instantly noticed. How can we admit that Dreyfus, who 
since a year was no longer attached to the First Division, 
could penetrate there and possess himself of such a package, 
an act which was all the more dangerous in that the vault in 
question was one of those often visited? How can we admit 
that, always unperceived, he could have carried ofT this pack- 
age, when at the same time he had in his possession a quantity 
of other documents also of interest to A? 

It may be remarked that nothing in the letter from B to A 
mentions the necessity of returning the documents, and that 
is why I am inclined to believe that they might have been 
taken from the Geographical Service, where it would have 
been possible to abstract them without too much difficulty. 
Whereas in the First Division, the thing is entirely 

As regards the initial D, that suggests nothing. Foreign 
powers do not designate spies by the actual initial. I myself 
know a spy whose real name is C; he introduced himself to 
the foreigners under the name of L and by them he is called 



N. Finally the letter D could not be applied to a man having 
from the point of view of espionage, the importance of 

All the objections which I have enumerated, I made to my 
superiors, and Major Henry, and they were not able to deny 
their value. They accounted for much, I believe, in the origin 
of the false Henry document, where Dreyfus was named in 
full. I am not able to speak here except as my memory 
serves me, for there are some points which remain obscure. 
I earnestly urge that they be brought to my attention and 
that mention be made of the objections which may arise. I 
investigated all these documents thoroughly two years ago, 
with a complete understanding of the case, and I did not 
arrive at my absolute conviction of their inanity from the 
point of view of Dreyfus's guilt, until I had examined the 
question from all sides. 

If one admits that these documents were able to decide the 
uncertain opinion of the judges of the Court-Martial of 1894, 
one must confess, that when the latter emerged from a debate 
of four days, which had greatly disturbed them, that they 
were searching for a clear and intelligible idea upon which to 
rely after the convinced discussions of the experts, and that 
they discovered this in the notes upon the dossier, whose 
origin was new, and in which they placed complete trust. 

Then as they may not have been able to take account of the 
value of the documents which might be new for them, they 
accepted the explanations given them without suspecting the 
trap which their loyalty prevented them from perceiving. And 
further on, when at the end of August, 1896, the investigation 
upon Esterhazy and the secret dossier had convinced them of 
the innocence of Dreyfus. I made a report to General de 
Boisdefifre, who authorised me to explain these matters to 

Colonel X ; he, however, told me to take into account a 

forged document of which I will speak later on, which had 
come in at the commencement of September, 1896, to the Min- 
ister of Colonies. He asked me also to weigh the evidence of 
the forged Henry document, but he never brought forward 
any other objections. In fine, he was absolutely opposed to 
revision and to proceedings against Esterhazy, without being 
convinced of the absolute guilt of Dreyfus. 



I said as much to General Billot, who for some time be- 
lieved in the innocence of Dreyfus, and whose belief in his 
guilt was founded on the forged Henry document. He had 
always believed in the guilt of Esterhazy during the time that 
I was attached to the Ministry. So far as General Gonse, 
with whom I was able to speak freely, is concerned, I think I 
may enter upon some details. When, by order of General de 
Boisdeffre I went on September 3rd, 1896, to report to General 
Gonse the report of my enquiry on the subject of Esterhazy 
and Dreyfus, the General listened to my reasons and did not 
dispute them. He merely made a face and said to me, "Well 
then, we have been mistaken !" Then he instructed me not to 
concern myself with this matter. The letter of September, 
1896, shows clearly that he brought forward no affirmation 
adverse to mine. At the time of his return to Paris on 
September 15th, he was still more explicit. I think I can 
repeat word for word the conversation I had with him on 
this subject, and which will never be effaced from my memory. 

The General.— What business is it of yours if this Jew is 
on the He du Diable? 

R. — But if he is innocent? 

G.— How do you expect to go all over this trial again? It 
would be the most shocking story. General Mercier and 
General Saussier are both tangled up in it. 

R._But, General, he is innocent, and that should be enough 
to revise the case. But, from another point of view, you know 
that his family are at work. They are searching everywhere 
for the true culprit, and if they find him, what will be our 

G. — If you say nothing, no one will ever know. 

R. — General, what you say is contemptible. I do not know 
what I shall do, but in any event I shall not allow this secret 
to be buried with me. And I left him instantly. From that 
moment I understood clearly the situation. 

Once again General Gonse spoke to me of the guilt of 
Dreyfus apropos of the forged Henry document. Several 
days before General de Boisdeffre and General Gonse asked 
me if the Minister had made any special communication to 
me. Finally, one morning, the Minister told me he had a 
letter of B showing the guilt of Dreyfus. As I went out I 



met General Gonse, who said to me : "Well, are you con- 
vinced?" I replied: "Not at all," and I told him that it was a 
forged document, to which he replied: "When a minister tells 
me something I always believe it." 

In brief, my superiors never disputed openly the innocence 
of Dreyfus ; and they never brought forward but that one 
empty proof of his guilt — the alleged avowals. For four 
months I was engaged upon an enquiry upon Esterhazy with- 
out any incident arising to interfere with my investigation. 
But from the day when I reported to General de Boisdeffre 
that Esterhazy was the author of the bordereau, there arose a 
series of plots against Dreyfus and myself, of which I am the 
victim to this very hour; and their principal authors, if not 
their actual instigators, I know, can have been only Du Paty 
de Clam and Henry — that is to say, the two principal repre- 
sentatives for putting in motion the Dreyfus affair. And this, 
too, to my way of thinking, is one of the proofs of the empti- 
ness of the accusations against Dreyfus. If indeed, proofs of 
his guilt had been available, it would not have been necessary 
to reinforce them by fraudulent means, nor to attack his de- 
fenders. Moreover, the manoeuvres of du Paty de Clam and 
Henry commenced from the very outset of the Dreyfus affair. 
We note that the first frauds were insignificant, but that they 
grew little by little to end by arriving at actual forged docu- 
ments. The first manoeuvre was du Paty de Clam's interrup- 
tion while Dreyfus was writing. Du Paty de Clam felt it nec- 
essary that Dreyfus should seem disturbed while he dictated 
the bordereau to him. As he was not disturbed du Paty de 
Clam addressed this question to him, "What is the matter 
with you? You are trembling!" And this was intended to 
take unawares the good faith of the two witnesses — Messieurs 
Cochefert and Gribelin. Bad faith is here evident to any one 
who was accustomed to matters of this kind. For any one 
who is posted on matters of espionage the proof that the 
weakness of the dossier was well known, is that it is much 
talked of, but not shown, and that General de Boisdeffre never 
submitted to the minister in 1889 the documents of which it 
was composed. Moreover, the General told me at that time, 
while the dossier was still there, that no pains had been spared 
during the trial to influence the judges. Colonel Sandherr 



told him that he had said to one of the judges: "I give you 
my guarantee that he is guilty." On the other hand, Captain 
Gallet, one of the judges, was closely associated at this time 
with Colonel Henry, who did not fail to post him on his un- 
derstanding of the matter. That is how the thing happened. 
I was present at all the Session, seated behind the judges. 
It was seen that the outlook of the case was somewhat uncer- 
tain, and it was resolved to make a bold stroke. Henry said 
to me: "As you are seated behind Gallet, tell him to have me 
recalled to demand further information from me." As I re- 
fused to carry out this commission. Colonel Henry became 
angry, and made the communication himself during the ad- 
journment of the trial. Captain Gallet brought up the ques- 
tion when the session was resumed, and Henry in making his 
deposition, said : "We had it from an honorable person that 
an officer of the Second Division has betrayed information, 
and that officer is there," he added, pointing to Dreyfus. It 
was possible to surmise that the person in question had de- 
nounced Dreyfus, but that was not so. This person, a foreign 
spendthrift, to whom I had paid 1,200 francs for this service, 
had said to Henry that the foreign military attaches had 
friends in the Second Division from whom they got informa- 
tion, and this advice agrees entirely with the actual facts ; for 
the foreign military attaches were received at the Second Mil- 
itary Division in the most friendly fashion, and there given 
all information which it was possible to accord to them. 

But Dreyfus was attached to the Second Division simply 
as an officer of probation. 

The alleged admission to Captain Lebrun-Renault make up 
in the same way a manoeuvre, the consequences of which have 
been recently felt. From the time of the deportation of Drey- 
fus to the He du Diable, what it is proper to call "plots" in- 
creased. It was then that the forged Henry document was 
discovered at the Ministry of Colonies on the 25th of Septem- 
ber, 1887. This forged document was a letter addressed to 
Dreyfus, which, as was the case with all the correspondence 
particularly personal, passed first through the hands of the 
Minister of Colonies, where it was examined. I myself saw 
it, the signature was that of one named Veyler. He told 
Dreyfus that his daughter was being married. This letter was 



written in strange characters resembling a drawing rather than 
writing and made to attract the eye. Although for more than 
a year I had read all the correspondence addressed to Drey- 
fus, I had never seen either this handwriting or this signature. 
But what was more serious, between the lines were written 
these words with sympathetic ink, sufficiently visible, how- 
ever, for one to read them almost entirely: "We do not un- 
derstand your comm.unication, specify where are the vaults 
containing the — " This letter, which was a most rude forgery, 
was intended to start the idea of a counter plot launched by 
the friends of Dreyfus, with the intention of substituting a 
dummy. I gave it to Monsieur Bertillon, who employed him- 
self in having made by one of his employes an astonishingly 
accurate facsimile. As I looked at it against the light I 
noticed that the grain of the paper was identical with that of 
the original. M. Bertillon said to me with a smile — "We 
have thought of everything." The facsimile was sent to the 
He du Diable in order to see what Dreyfus would do when he 
received it. 

This forged document constitutes the serious fact of which 
I spoke to General Gonse in July, 1896. 

Influenced by the chain of evidence, I thought for a 
moment that this document came really from the friends of 
Dreyfus, who, in order to save him, had had recourse to the 
most clumsy means. However, upon reflection, it did not 
take me long to become convinced of the character of this 
document, and I believe that it was Du Paty de Clam who 
was its author, since it was to his interest at that moment to 
render my work vain. 

The idea of the dummy was one of those which Du Paty de 
Clam mentioned most frequently. At any rate, at this time 
Henry was on leave and could not intervene. 

After this document, the false news reported in the press, 
particularly the article in the Eclair of September 15th, which 
originated certainly with Du Paty de Clam, for in it are entire 
phrases which are word for word similar to those which he 
uttered before me. 

Finally the forged Henry document which is too well- 
known for me to emphasize it further, not to mention the ex- 



planation recently given by Monsieur Berthulus, Juge d' In- 

What it is necessary to remember of all this is that the 
guilt of Dreyfus was so uncertain that those in favor of his 
condemnation believed it necessary to reinforce it by forged 
documents, or to attack by underhand methods the methods 
of the prisoner. 

In fine, Dreyfus was only arrested because it was unjustly 
believed that the bordereau was the work of an officer of the 
General Staff. Once arrested, nothing was found against 
him, but the accusation of the police reports trumped up 
against him for the case, and which could not hold water 
before the Court-Martial of 1894. 

The reason for attributing the bordereau to Dreyfus was 
the similarity of handwriting. 

It has never been possible to discover the motive which 
would have led him to commit such a crime resulting in in- 
evitable conviction. 

The Minister communicated to the judges in the Council 
Chamber the secret dossier composed of documents inappli- 
cable to Dreyfus, and which could not be brought up against 
him unless one admitted the commentaries which accompanied 
the dossier, they having been compiled by Du Paty de Clam. 
The dossier was never submitted to the examination of the 
counsel for the defence. Dreyfus once convicted — attempts 
were made to elaborate this dossier, but so far without suc- 
cess. In the autumn of 1896, when the inquiry upon Ester- 
hazy destroyed the grounds for attributing the bordereau to 
Dreyfus and broke down absolutely the accusation made 
against him, then it was that the start was made with the 
system of the forged documents. 

At the time when I left the Ministry, in 1896, there was no 
other documents relating to Dreyfus besides those enumer- 
ated in the present communication. I demand, that if other 
documents have come to light since then, that I be placed in 
a position to report upon them. I demand also that all ob- 
jections which may be applied to this jReport shall be fully 
worked out, and that I be invited to furnish all such supple- 
mentary explanations as are necessary to bring the Dreyfus 
affair into the full light of day. 



In conclusion, Monsieur the Keeper of the Seals, allow me 
to express my gratitude. You have given me the opportun- 
ity of doing what I have wished to do for two years — to 
quieten my conscience by telling the entire truth to one who 
is the supreme arbiter of justice, and in consequence one of 
the guardians of this country's honour. I beg at the same 
time that you will accept the assurance of my deep respect. 

(Signed) Picouart. 


(Letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart to the Keeper of 
the Seals, September 15, 1898J 

"Monsieur the ICeeper of the Seals^ 

"I have the honour to send you the supplementary informa- 
tion which you asked me to furnish on the subject of the com- 
munication of the secret documents to the judges of the Court 
Martial which condemned Dreyfus in 1894. 

"This communication was well known to all the officers 
intimately connected with the Dreyfus affair. I spoke of it 
at the time with General Mercier and General de Boisdeffre 
and Du Paty de Clam. And later, when I assumed direction 
of the Service of Information, I spoke of it to General Gonse 
and Colonel Sandherr and Major Henry and to Gribelin, the 
Keeper of the Archives. Finally Vallecalle, the recorder of 
the first Court Martial, spoke of it to me during the Dreyfus 
inquiry in these words: 

" 'Was it not you who brought the secret dossier to Colonel 

" 'At the same time as I myself was not charged to make 
the delivery, I am unable to inform you except by hearsay 
and by what I have seen myself; albeit these details are true 
as a whole, they should nevertheless be checked.' 

" 'How was the delivery made?' 

" 'Under sealed enclosure to the president of the Court- 
Martial, there was another enclosure containing — first, the 
four documents which I have specified in my memoire; sec- 
ond, the commentary written by du Paty de Clam on this 
matter. There is no doubt whatever about that.' 

"When Colonel Sandherr spoke to me of this dossier in 
July, 1895, he said; 'the small dossier which was delivered to 
the Judges of the Court-Martial is in the iron closet.' When 
I asked Gribelin for it, I said to him: 'Give me the dossier 
which was delivered to the Judges of the Court Martial and 
which is in Major Henry's closet.' He gave it to me immedi- 
ately, and in a particular envelope the four documents and the 
Commentary. When I showed this dossier to General de 



Boisdeffre, he recognised it perfectly and asked why it had 
not been burned as before agreed. General Gonse also saw 
it in my possession, and we spoke of it as the dossier delivered 
to the judges in the council chamber. 

"2nd. — By whom was the delivery made? I am not entire- 
ly positive of the person who carried the dossier to the Pres- 
ident of the Court Martial. It might have been myself; it 
might have been du Paty de Clam. This uncertainty may 
seem curious, but is nevertheless natural. I had several de- 
liveries to make at the time and I was not familiar with the 
exact appearance of the dossier in question. 

''3rd. — Where was the delivery made? At the Court Mar- 
tial at Paris, and it was opened in the council chamber. At 
what time? Assuredly after the close of the session. Be- 
cause in reporting, the general impression of the deliberation 
to the Minister, I said to him that this impression was not 
unfavourable to the accused, but that at the time I was speak- 
ing the judges should be determined by the secret dossier. 
He did not contradict this reference, and moreover this secret 
dossier was always a clearly-understood thing at the Ministry. 
My declaration might be confirmed by Generals Mercier, de 
Boisdefifre and Gonse; Lieutenant Colonel du Paty de Clam, 
Gribelin, the keeper of the Archives and the recorder, Valle- 

"Such, Monsieur the Keeper of the Seals, are the supple- 
mentary explanations which I had to offer you. I take the 
liberty of insisting in the same urgent manner that I should 
be allowed to furnish details which it is difificult to supply in 


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DC 354 


3 9097 00171282 8 

Steevens, George War 
The tragedy of Dreyfus,